A Cook County judge on Friday denied bail for a man who has been incarcerated for more than 10 years while awaiting trial in the 2011 slaying of an off-duty police officer after attorneys sought a bail review, dashing the hopes of family members in the courtroom.
Tyrone Clay, 40, is charged with murder, armed robbery and other felonies in the shooting death of Officer Clifton Lewis, a case that has been plagued with accusations of police and prosecutorial misconduct.
“He’s going to be hurting,” Clay’s mother, Labetta Maxwell said after the hearing. “I’m afraid for my son.”
Lewis was killed while working a second job as a security guard at a West Side convenience store. Lewis was shot by two masked men while he worked at the M&M Quick Foods in the 1200 block of North Austin Boulevard in December 2011.
Prosecutors had charged Clay and two other men in attack, but the case has dragged on for more than a decade. Prosecutors allege that Clay and Alexander Villa shot Lewis while Edgardo Colon served as their getaway driver.
Clay has been awaiting trial for more than a decade while attorneys have argued over whether his videotaped statements should be shown to a jury. His attorneys have said he couldn’t waive his Miranda rights due to “limited intelligence and verbal comprehension.”
The defendants have appeared in court a handful of times in recent weeks and months, tussling over access to evidence, with defense attorneys accusing police and prosecutors of failing to meet their discovery obligations and Cook County Judge Erica Reddick appearing to grow more displeased at delays.
“I’m not interested in any more of fantastical tales of why (the evidence) hasn’t been produced,” Reddick said to a city attorney during a hearing last week.
At issue are Chicago Police Department documents related to a joint CPD and federal investigation into the Spanish Cobras street gang called “Operation Snake Doctor,” during which defense attorneys say police generated information about the Lewis killing.
Federal prosecutors, though, have maintained that releasing some of the documentation would violate federal grand jury secrecy rules, leaving Reddick to order city attorneys to untangle the evidence and turn over everything possible.
Colon is awaiting a new trial after his conviction was thrown out by an Illinois appellate court, which said his constitutional rights were violated when police continued questioning him after he indicated he wanted a lawyer. A Cook County judge and an appellate court agreed that the statements should be thrown out.
Villa was convicted in 2019 but has not been sentenced and has a pending motion for a new trial.