Chicagoland: Repeat felon again out on bond allegedly stalked a random victim for a gang revenge murder


CHICAGO, IL – A two-time felon has been accused of driving around and looking for someone to kill for the purpose of a gang revenge shooting in a city plagued with homicides.

According to a report by CWB Chicago, the suspect is Manya Chappel, 24, who allegedly drove around for 15 minutes looking for a victim to kill in the city’s Austin neighborhood earlier this year.

Chappel was already on bail for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors recently said. Now, he is charged with first-degree murder of Demarco Strawder, the 24-year-old man that his passenger allegedly gunned down that day.

Strawder was shot in the chest and legs and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead, according to a report by Chicago Sun Times.

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CWB Chicago reported that Chappel is the 19th person to be charged with killing or shooting another person while awaiting trial for another felony.

The murder took place around noon on Jan. 15. CWB Chicago reported that a man with tattoos on his face pulled his car to a stop on the city’s West Side.

Allegedly, Chappel and his passenger, who was armed with a gun, asked a passerby where they could buy “blows,” street slang for heroin. The passerby didn’t want to get involved, according to the same report:

“For 15 minutes, an array of surveillance cameras recorded those two men circling the area looking for someone to shoot to avenge the murder of a friend, prosecutors said.

“They picked Strawder.

“The passenger, who has yet to be charged, shot Strawder three times as he walked down the 1600 block of North Mayfield. Police found Strawder after responding to a ShotSpotter alert and 911 calls. Investigators found 11 shell casings on the street, prosecutors said.

“Detectives rounded up video footage from across the area and from nearby businesses that showed Chappel and the shooter in and out of the car before, during, and after the shooting, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

“Chappel’s phone pinged in concert with the gunman’s phone as they traveled together, according to Murphy. Their phones allegedly registered less than 300 feet from the murder scene when Strawder was killed.”

CWB Chicago’s report indicated that Chappel was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in 2016 and felony resisting in 2018:

“In May 2020, Judge David Navarro allowed him to go home on a $500 bail deposit after prosecutors charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was still on bail when Strawder was killed, Murphy said.

“Prosecutors this week charged Chappel with first-degree murder.

“His defense attorney argued the passenger was the one who supposedly shot Strawder, not Chappel.

“But Judge Mary Marubio pointed to the ‘stalking of the victim’ by circling the area for 15 minutes as a key factor in the case. The extensive surveillance footage and phone GPS evidence also weighed heavily, she said.

“She then granted the state’s motion to hold Chappel without bail on the murder charge. Marubio also ordered Chappel held without bail for violating the terms of bond in the pending gun case.”

Block Club Chicago reported on May 19 that the West Side neighborhood has seen a 58 percent drop in shootings due to violence prevention programs and outreach workers:

“Shootings are down more than 15 percent citywide compared to this time last year, according to an analysis by street outreach organization Chicago CRED.

“West Side neighborhoods have seen even more dramatic improvements: Austin has had a 38 percent decrease in shootings compared to last year, and shootings in West Garfield Park have dropped by almost one-third.

“The progress is even more promising in North Lawndale, showing a nearly 57 percent drop in shootings, according to CRED data.

“The public safety improvements follow increases in state, federal and local funding for community-driven anti-violence strategies, including Gov. JB Pritzker committing $50 million this year to support violence intervention.”

According to the same report, outreach programs, such as Communities Partnering 4 Peace, CRED, UCAN and Flatlining Violence Inspires Peace, work because they address some of the circumstances that make people vulnerable to violence.

Jorge Matos, senior director of READI Chicago, an initiative of Heartland Alliance, told Block Club Chicago that READI participants are 45 times more likely to be shot than the average Chicagoan, according to the organization’s data.

Matos said that nearly all have previously been arrested, more than half have been incarcerated and at least 60 percent are housing insecure, which makes these individuals more likely to be impacted by violence:

“We combine what we know works — outreach, cognitive behavioral [therapy] and transitional employment — to help people create a viable path and opportunities for a different future.”

Matos also said that the organization’s behavioral health services “helps people slow down their thinking and respond differently to risky situations.”

Matos added:

“Not only do we help them heal and reframe their thinking, we also give them a chance to earn income and support themselves and their families, pursue skills training with real economic opportunities.”

Another organization, Flatlining Violence Inspires Peace, places outreach workers in neighborhood hot spots to organize events that promote peace.

Block Club Chicago reported:

“Research from Northwestern University’s Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative shows shootings rarely happen when outreach workers are present. More than 80 percent of the hot spots targeted by Flatlining Violence Inspires Peace saw zero shootings while outreach workers were on duty, the research showed.

“Those safety improvements at hot spots are a result of the 47 non-aggression agreements negotiated by the program’s workers and more than 600 individual interventions, said Jalon Arthur, the program’s director of strategic initiatives.”

Arthur told Block Club Chicago:

“It’s about empowering men and women who are from those communities, from those blocks, to maintain peace across hot spots.”

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