Jury selection began Monday morning for three men charged with the 2011 ambush murder of an Austin neighborhood woman in River Forest.
The trial is somewhat unusual in that two juries will be impaneled. Judge Noreen Valeria Love told the attorneys she expected the trial to take “a week and a half, maybe two weeks.”
Devin Bickham Sr., 42, and his son, Devin Arvdell Bickham, 23, both of Blue Island, and Cardell Taylor, 38, of Chicago, are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 29-year-old Austin resident Chervon Monique Alexander, the mother of an 18-month-old girl.
The three men have been held without bond in the Cook County Jail since charges were filed on July 14, 2011.
Alexander was sitting with Bickham Sr. in a car parked in a lot by the Dominican Priory Park Campus, the night of July 11. Prosecutors allege that on a text-message signal from Bickham, his son handed Taylor a .380 caliber handgun and Taylor then walked up to the car and began shooting Alexander.
She suffered bullet wounds to the head, chest and shoulder, and died later that night at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
Taylor and the younger Bickham fled in their car, and several people called 911 to report the shooting, including the elder Bickham, allegedly to cover his involvement in the crime, police said.
The younger Bickham and Taylor were stopped and arrested by Forest Park police approximately one mile from the scene of the shooting and a gun was recovered from the car, according to prosecutors.
Bickham Sr. was arrested after reportedly being implicated by Taylor. The father also reportedly lied to police, stating that he did not know his son or recognize the car he was driving, despite owning the car.
Each of the three defendants appeared before the judge separately, Monday morning, as lawyers resolved numerous pre-trial issues. All three men stated they wished to proceed to jury trial.
At 11:30 a.m., as Chervon Alexander’s mother and other family members sat watching in the outer seating area, 50 prospective jurors filed into the courtroom, filling every available seat.
Love said she expected jury selection to take at least through Tuesday. The judge instructed the defense and prosecution to make their questions to prospective jurors as specific as possible.
“Because we’re going to have two juries and two defendants named Devin Bickham,” she said. “We’re going to have people confused out there.”