A 17-year-old Illinois boy is facing felony counts of armed robbery and unlawful restraint after being taken into custody by police in Chicago in connection with the robbery and attempted robbery of Northwestern University students. Evanston police say that the boy was part of a group of individuals who accosted students on city streets and subway trains. Reports indicate that police are still searching for the rest of the group.
The teen was taken into custody due to resemblances between an armed robbery and an attempted robbery on Oct. 7 and a string of similar crimes that the teen is believed to have been involved in. Officers say that the teen was identified by at least one of the students involved after being apprehended.
According to police, the teen and two others approached a university student on Oct. 7 near the intersection of Noyes Street and Sheridan Road and demanded that he hand over his wallet and walk with them to a nearby ATM. The student told police that he subsequently withdrew $400 and handed it over. Police say that the group had tried to rob another student earlier in the evening on a Purple Line train.
When presented with facts like those in this case, criminal defense attorneys may be reluctant to enter into a plea agreement based solely on eyewitness testimony. When felonies and potentially severe penalties are involved, defense attorneys could wait until compelling physical evidence is produced before beginning plea discussions with prosecutors. When prosecutors seem unlikely to be able to prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt, defense attorneys may seek to have criminal charges dismissed or reduced. Attorneys could also seek to have any statements made to police by minors excluded if their attorneys, parents or guardians were not present during questioning.