The Grandmother Of Two Black Sisters Who Helped Torture A White Special Needs Teenager Says They Were Not Raised That Way And They Are A Danger To Society.
The grandmother of two sisters charged in the torture of a special needs teenager has apologized to the victim.
Priscilla Covington, 65, told DailyMail.com: ‘I am so sorry, I am so sorry. I apologize on behalf of my family to his, that’s all I can say.’
Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, have been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery and hate crime for torturing the victim along with alleged accomplices Jordan Hill, 18, and Tesfaye Cooper, 18.
The grandmother, who brought up Brittany from infancy, added: ‘My girl was not raised liked that.’
During the six-hour ordeal, the gang terrorized and degraded the 18-year-old, then posted a video to Facebook’s live-stream.
He was beaten, cut with a knife, burned with cigarettes and at one point, a piece of his scalp was cut off.
They forced the disabled man to drink toilet water and kiss the floor, according to police.
The suspects also allegedly stuffed a sock into his mouth, taped his mouth shut and bound his hands with a belt.
One of the four accused can be heard screaming, ‘f*** Donald Trump, f*** white people’ at the victim.
The group of four black men and women were denied bail by a judge on Friday who labelled them ‘a danger to society’.
‘I’m looking at each of you and wondering where was the sense of decency that each of you should have had?’ Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil said.
‘I don’t see it.’
The four were also charged with two hate crimes – one because the young man was disabled and one because of race.
The teen, who is white, suffers from schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.
He attended a special needs school in Aurora, Illinois with one of the accused, Jordan Hill.
Hill was also charged with robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He, Cooper and Brittany Covington face additional charges of residential burglary, according to Cook County State Attorney’s Office.
Attorneys for the suspects tried to argue for their bail by telling the judge about their background and family life.
They said her sister, Brittany Covington, of Chicago, attends college and is involved with her church.
Tanishia Covington is the only accused with a prior adult criminal record, according to reports.
In 2005, she was convicted of shoplifting, and she pleaded guilty in April of 2016 for failing to appear at her court date on a criminal trespass to a vehicle charge.
Her grandmother told the AP on Friday: ‘I’m so upset, my head is about to bust open.
‘I don’t know if someone influenced her. … She had her ups and down. [She] was a good person. I’m so confused.’
The attorneys say Hill, of suburban Carpentersville, works for a staffing company assembling furniture and attends church with his grandmother.
They say the fourth suspect Cooper, of Chicago, cares for his twin brother who uses a wheelchair and is a high school junior.
The victim’s aunt told DailyMail.com on Friday that he was unable to speak about the attack – other than to repeatedly ask why a friend he idolized had done this to him.
Janet Grant said her nephew would be mentally scarred by the prolonged ordeal where he was bound, beaten, cut, burned and forced to drink from a toilet.
She continued: ‘They went to school together, they both had problems. He adores Jordan. I don’t know Jordan but [the victim] really liked him. It’s one thing if they didn’t know each other but [the victim] idolized him.’
The four friends arrested in the incident allegedly expressed no remorse for the torture.
Grant, who is the sister of the victim’s father said the family were ‘terrible’ since the teenager’s ordeal.
‘He’s got enough problems already. They put cigarette butts out on his head, cut a hole in his scalp. Once they took him to Chicago, he had no meds for four days. He couldn’t even fight back.
‘Physically he’ll heal but mentally…he’ll always be looking over his shoulder. Probably won’t trust anybody. ‘
Grant said that she was unsure if any family members would attend the first court appearance of the four accused on Friday.
The family does not know the connection Hill had to the other three accused. His aunt said the only thing she would ask them is ‘why – just why?’
Mrs Grant added: ‘Or even watch people do that. How could a woman watch that? They thought it was going to make them popular – putting cigarette butts out on a kid with schizophrenia and ADHD.’
Kyle Pudowski said he hoped that the perpetrators would receive lengthy prison sentences for that they had done.
The aunt added: ‘It’s not even about the punishment – just why?
Grant said the family had been deeply touched by the outpouring of support from the local community and beyond. A GoFundMe account set up with a goal of raising $10,000 has surpassed $82,000.
‘It’s wonderful,’ she said. ‘It’s sad it takes something like this.’
Grant said that she had spent a lot of time with the victim and that she and her brother babysat each other’s children when they were growing up.
She said: ‘[He’s] a good boy. He would give you the shirt off his back.
‘[He] thought he was cool. I think he was one of the popular ones at school.’
The family made a brief statement to local TV stations on Thursday night.
David Boyd, the victim’s brother-in-law, said: ‘He’s doing well as well as he could be at this time. We are so grateful for all the prayers and efforts that led to the safe return of our brother.
‘This should never happen.’
Grant said that the victim’s father was too devastated to speak at the brief news conference.
Streamwood Police Department said in a statement that his parents reported him missing on January 2.
They had last heard from him on New Year’s Eve after dropping him off at a McDonald’s restaurant in Streamwood, close to their home.
As police investigated the disappearance, the parents received text messages from the captors.
Police then found a disturbing video showing the victim being tortured.
The video lasts for 30 minutes but investigators believe that the vulnerable victim’s ordeal went on for six hours.
It was initially posted by Brittany Covington but has since been deleted.
In another video that surfaced on Wednesday night, the torturers force the victim to drink water from a toilet.
The unidentified victim was able to make a break for it when the downstairs neighbors reported the noise to police.
The victim has been returned to his parents.
Chicago authorities revealed more about the disturbing incident on Thursday.
The victim’s parents dropped him off at a McDonald’s on Saturday so that he could spend the night at Hill’s home. ‘[He] told [his mother] that he was meeting a friend there but never said who,’ according to a missing person’s report.
‘[His mother] believes that the friend [the victim] was meeting is Jordan.’
Police considered the teenager ‘a missing endangered person due to his mental health history and not currently taking his medication.’
His mother thought he may be with another friend, Derek, in the area but she didn’t know his last name or if it is his real name because he did ‘not like telling his parents who he is with,’ the police report stated.
On Saturday night, Hill had allegedly picked the victim up in a stolen van. For the first two days, the two visited friends and the victim reportedly slept in the van at night.
On Tuesday, the pair visited the West Chicago residence of the Covington sisters where Cooper was also present.
A few hours after they arrived at the house, Hill and the victim got into a play fight that then escalated to a prolonged torture.
Police said the young man made so much noise as he was being tortured that the downstairs neighbors eventually called police to report the noise.
The group became angered with the downstairs neighbors, and three of them went downstairs to kick the neighbor’s door in. It was at this moment that the victim was able to make a break for it.
Outside of the residence, a police officer found the victim ‘bloodied and bruised’, wearing a tank top and shorts in the dead of winter.
The victim was treated in hospital and has been returned to his parents.
On Thursday, President Obama said he believed the ‘despicable’ actions seen in the video were examples of long-existing hatred, and not a sign of U.S. race relations getting worse.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said: ‘The actions in that video are reprehensible. That along with racism have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago or anywhere else for that matter, against anyone regardless of their race, gender, state of mental health or any other identifying factor.’
By Louise Boyle In Chicago, Illinois