A homeless man who prosecutors said was the “catalyst” in the shooting death of an off-duty Chicago cop has been sentenced to 65 years in prison.
Jovan Battle, 34, was not accused of firing any shots into officer John Rivera’s car in March 2019, but prosecutors said he pointed out the off-duty cop’s vehicle to two men in search of revenge after an altercation with a group of Hispanic men, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Battle, who represented himself at trial, was convicted of murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm in Rivera’s slaying.
One of the officer’s three friends in the car was also shot in the shoulder and chest but survived, the Tribune reported.
“This is the guy that made it all happen,” Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Morley said at Battle’s sentencing Tuesday. “But for Jovan Battle leading these two guys up to John Rivera’s car, John would be alive.”
Co-defendants Menelik Jackson and Jaquan Washington are awaiting trial in the fatal shooting. Prior to Tuesday’s sentencing, a judge said eight .40-caliber bullets were fired into Rivera’s car within 10 minutes of Jackson and Washington meeting Battle.
Judge Michael Clancy sentenced Battle to 50 years for first-degree murder, along with a consecutive 10 years for aggravated battery and 5 years for the aggravated firearm discharge.
Battle, who hired an attorney after his conviction, was a “drunk, high, mentally ill, shattered human being” who was living on the streets of Chicago at the time, his public defender said.
“In an impulsive moment, 30 seconds at the most, [he] comes into contact with Menelik Jackson and Jaquan Washington,” defense attorney Ed Koziboski said.
Prosecutors allege Jackson and Washington had a dispute with a group of men at a McDonald’s and later returned in search of revenge. Battle then led them to Rivera’s car, where Jackson allegedly opened fire, striking the off-duty cop in the face and back.
The shooting was an apparent case of mistaken identity, as the group in the car wasn’t involved in the prior altercation, the Tribune reported.
Clancy said Battle helped Jackson because they were both members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“I chose to help them, cause they G.D., I’m G.D.,” Clancy said, recalling what Battle told investigators following his arrest.
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