Moms defend sons in student slaying


CRANE | Alleged shooter, 15, has lengthy rap sheet: source


March 10, 2008




An air of misery surrounded two mothers who journeyed to Cook County Criminal Court on Sunday.


Emily Green came to hear about the murder of her son Ruben Ivy. He was shot Friday outside Crane High School just after classes let out. The mother of the accused killer -- Crane student Devonte Smith, 15 -- came to hear the allegations against her son.

He is charged as an adult with killing Ivy, who was 18. Police and prosecutors say the killing was gang-related. Both women say their sons were good boys.


During the hearing, Judge Donald Panarese Jr. denied Smith bail after prosecutor Mary Innes said a gang clash resulted in Smith menacing Ivy with a gun. When Innes said Smith didn't know Ivy, Smith's mother -- who stood as her son appeared in court -- grimly shook her head as if to differ with Innes.


"Witnesses saw the victim raise his hand and say, 'I ain't even about that,'" before Smith pulled the trigger of a .22-caliber gun, Innes said.


Smith, a New Breed gang member, stood 8 to 10 feet from Ivy, "raised his hand and pointed the gun at the victim ... the victim was unarmed."


He shot Ivy in the chest, and "up to a dozen eyewitnesses identified the shooter as the defendant," Innes said.


Smith's mother declined to speak but said, "Yes, I do," when asked if she considered him a good boy.


Smith and Ivy have juvenile criminal histories, a source said. Smith had 15 arrests for offenses including aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic violence, mob action, marijuana possession, and aiding and abetting the sale of a stolen vehicle, the source said. Ivy had been accused of mob action, criminal damage to property, criminal trespass, gambling and marijuana possession.


Ivy's relatives said he may have been picked up for throwing dice but that he was never involved with weapons or gangs.


"My son was no gang-banger,'' said Emily Green. Ivy was at Crane "to get an education, not to fight," she said.


She questioned why the shooting happened at a school with a heavy police patrol.


"The police were right there. They could have made that crowd move,'' Green said.


Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said, "It only takes a split-second for someone to pull out a gun. We can't be everywhere."


Ivy's relatives said they think Smith targeted Ivy, whom they considered a class leader, to make a name for himself.


"[Smith] was looking for [Ivy] before school got out," said Ivy's brother Jerome Green.


Some students have said tension at Crane erupted after a fight over an expensive baseball hat.


Whether there was such a fight or not, "the hat was not my son's," Emily Green said. Coincidentally, Emily Green said she still carries a bullet from when she was shot in the head and foot in a disturbance that broke out at Crane when she was a student there in 1984.


"I just wish it will all come to an end," she said of the violence.


Ivy was the 16th Chicago Public Schools student fatally shot this school year. Smith is to appear in court Tuesday.


Meanwhile, Bond said police, community activists and clergy will provide a stepped-up presence outside the school today.