By Megan Dooley
A former police officer offered to pay a friend $400 to kill his mistress, Cook County prosecutors alleged Friday morning at a bond hearing for the three men suspected of planning and carrying out the execution-style shooting of 29-year-old Chervon Alexander, of Chicago.
Judge William Wise denied bond for Devin A. Bickham Sr., 39, and his son Devin A Bickham Jr., 20, both of the 12800 block of Division in Blue Island, and Cardell Taylor, 35, of the 9400 block of South Lowe in Chicago. All three men are charged with first-degree murder.
Bickham Sr. is a former police officer for the North Chicago Police Department. He reportedly left the department after being accused of sexual misconduct, possibly with a minor. He was never charged for that alleged offense. Bickham Sr. is also the father of five children.
At their July 15 bond hearing at the 4th District Court in Maywood, all three defendants stood silent before Judge Wise as a prosecutor from the state attorney's office read through the details of the crime.
Several family members of the defendants and the victim were allowed into the room, while large crowds of people waited outside the doors to hear the results. One woman sobbed silently throughout the hearing.
According to the prosecutor, Bickham Sr., who was married to another woman, made plans to marry Alexander in August. Under mounting pressure, Bickham decided he "needed a clean break from [Alexander]," the prosecutor stated, and used his son as a middle man to hire Taylor to murder her.
Bickham Sr. allegedly agreed to pay Taylor $400 for the murder, $200 of which was paid up front. The additional $200 was slated to be exchanged after the murder had been committed, according to the prosecutor
The murder occurred at approximately 10:22 p.m. on Monday night, after Bickham Sr. drove the victim in his 2005 Buick to a parking lot next to Priory Park, in the 7200 block of Division Street in River Forest. Due to an electrical blackout, the lights in the parking lot were not working, and the area was dark.
Bickham's son and Taylor allegedly pulled up to the corner of Bonnie Brae and Division Street and parked the silver Chevrolet Impala that Bickham Jr. was driving. The car was owned by Bickham Sr.
Taylor then allegedly exited the vehicle, walked across the street to the parking lot where Bickham Sr. and Alexander sat in his car, approached the passenger side of the vehicle and opened fire on Alexander with a .38-caliber semiautomatic weapon, which was later discovered to be registered to Bickham Sr.
Taylor allegedly fired at least four rounds into the victim, hitting her in the mouth, chest and shoulders, and then fled the scene, returning to the getaway car where Bickham's son was waiting.
According to the prosecutor, Bickham Sr. then called 911 to report the shooting, and when officers arrived, provided an accurate description of Taylor and the getaway vehicle. After Bickham Jr. and Taylor were apprehended minutes later, police found the gun in plain sight between the two men inside the car. Bickham Sr. denied ever having seen the car or gun before.
According to the prosecutor, upon his arrest, Bickham's son claimed that someone had thrown the gun into the car through an open window while he drove through the intersection at Harlem and Division.
Taylor then reportedly stated: "I want the rest of my money now."
According to the prosecutor, Bickham Jr. and Taylor both later confessed to their roles in the murder. Taylor confessed to being the shooter and admitted that the gun jammed a number of times during the shooting. The prosecutor said that both confessions were captured on video.
Bickham Sr. reportedly admitted to communicating with his son via cellphone in the minutes prior to the attack, telling his son where he and Alexander were going. Bickham Sr. denied having any role in the murder.
The three defendants do not have any prior convictions. Bickham Sr. has two prior arrests, including one arrest in 1993 for battery. Taylor has 15 prior arrests for a range of crimes, including theft and battery. Bickham Jr. had never been arrested.
As the men were being led out of the room, a woman screamed out, "Devin, I hope you rot in hell ...you son of a bitch."
The woman continued to cry hysterically and had to be escorted out of the courtroom by court officers. Family members of the defendants were held back for several moments after the woman exited before they were allowed to leave the courtroom.