On Thursday, an Illinois jury acquitted a Chicago woman of handing her teenage cousin a loaded gun seconds before the girl allegedly opened fire and killed 14-year-old Endia Martin during an after-school fight.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the jury deliberated less than six hours before handing down a “not guilty” verdict for Vandetta Redwood on both the federal counts she was facing: Giving a handgun to a juvenile knowing it would be used to commit a crime of violence as well as possessing a firearm in a school zone. Apparently, the 2-minute cellphone footage of the attack did not show Redwood hand off the gun or depict the killing itself.
According to court records, Redwood, 35, told police she had nothing to do with the shooting.
“I wasn’t there until after the fight,” Redwood told detectives. “I don’t know nothin’ about no gunshot. I wasn’t even (expletive) there. Why the (expletive) would I give her the (expletive) gun to shoot somebody, she’s 14?”
Redwood faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Clearly, the loss was a complete surprise to the U.S. attorney’s office. Just last year, a Cook County jury convicted Donnell Flora, the owner of the gun, of first-degree murder and attempted murder for bringing the weapon to the scene. Flora, who is also Redwood’s cousin, was sentenced to 100 years in prison last March, the newspaper pointed out. Yet, Redwood herself gets to leave court a free woman.
“I’m just tore up inside, that’s it,” she said after the verdict was handed down. “I’m still stressed out. You just don’t know what I’ve been through.”
However, she claims she regrets what happened.
“I just want to tell the Martin family that I am sorry for their loss,” she said. “A baby got killed that day.”
This was the second attempt to prosecute Redwood, who avoided criminal charges for the same crimes after a Cook Country judge threw the charges out says, WLS News reported. After viewing video of the incident, the judge ruled that the prosecution failed to meet the “minimal burden” for handing down charges against Redwood.
Endia Martin, 14, of the 5300 block of South Wallace, was fatally shot at about 4:30 p.m. on April 28, 2014 outside her cousin's house in the 900 block of West Garfield Boulevard in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The 14 year-old suspect of Endia, has been charged with first-degree murder. Four other suspects have also been charged for their alleged roles in the shooting. #ChicagoLivesMatter #SaveChicago #AntiChiraq #PrayForChicago #EndiaMartin
As HelloBeautiful previously reported, on April 28, 2014, Martin was shot and killed after a fight erupted in the city’s South Side. Prosecutors believed that Redwood’s then-14-year-old cousin and Endia’s best friend, Lanekia “Niki” Reynolds, were fighting over a boy on Facebook. The two agreed to settle it in the streets, which is when they believe that Flora supplied the gun to Redwood who then handed it to her teen cousin and said, “Shoot that b—-” as her 12-year-old daughter stood a few feet away.
The alleged shooter, who remains unidentified because she is under 18, was charged as a juvenile and is still awaiting trial on murder charges.