Former suburban cop one of 3 charged in River Forest murder

Father and son charged in death of father's girlfriend


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

A former North Chicago police officer, his son, and a third man have been charged with first degree murder for the July 11 shooting death of a Chicago woman in River Forest.

Devin A. Bickham Sr., 39, and his son Devin Ardvell Bickham Jr., both of the 12800 block of Division in Blue Island, and Cardell Taylor, 35, of the 9400 block of South Lowe in Chicago were charged this morning.

The victim, 29-year-old Chervon Alexander, of the 1300 block of North Mayfield in Chicago, was shot multiple times at approximately 10:22 p.m. on Monday, while sitting in a car in a parking lot near Priory Park, on the 7200 block of Division.

She was pronounced dead at just after 11 p.m., after being taken to Loyola Medical Center.

Bickham, Sr. was also in the car at the time of the shooting. He made the 911 call, after the shooter and another suspect fled the scene in a gray Chevrolet Impala.

Taylor is allegedly the shooter.

According to River Forest Deputy Chief Craig Rutz, it is believed that Bickham Sr. was involved in an extramarital affair with Alexander, and arranged to have her murdered when she began to demand too much of his attention.

"[According to sources] the problem was that she was demanding more out of the relationship," said Rutz.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office, which has conducted an autopsy, would neither confirm nor deny rumors which have swirled around the investigation that Alexander was pregnant. The medical examiner cited the continuing investigation as the reason for its silence on that issue.

Bickham, Sr., is married though his spouse is not thought to be involved in any way in the alleged murder.

The police department in North Chicago, a far north suburb, confirmed that Devin Bickham was a former officer, but could not specify when he left the department. A Chicago Tribune newspaper article dated September 2000 said Bickham was sworn into the department as an officer early that month. Details about Bickham's departure from the police force remain unclear.

However, a source close to the department said that Bickham left the force following allegations of sexual misconduct, possibly involving an underage victim. The source said Bickham was never officially charged for that offense. The source also said that Bickham reportedly had a large number of children while in his 20s.

When police arrived at the murder scene on Monday night, Bickham allegedly provided false information about the shooter, including that he fled on foot. Other witnesses who had been in the park at the time of the shooting provided identifying information about the gunman and vehicle, and that information was immediately broadcast over police radios.

Four minutes later, Bickham Jr. and Taylor were pulled over in a gray Chevrolet Impala at Madison and Harlem by Forest Park and Oak Park police and placed under arrest. A gun was recovered from the vehicle.

According to Rutz, the victim and the three men charged with her murder had visited the park where she was murdered on prior occasions to drink, and knew that it would likely be empty.

At the time of the murder, Bickham Sr. was reportedly sitting in the driver's seat and Alexander was sitting in the passenger seat. Within a few minutes of entering the parking lot and parking the vehicle, Taylor and Bickham Jr. allegedly pulled up in another vehicle and parked nearby. The vehicle was possibly hidden by some bushes.

"The shooter came right through the bushes and just walked up and opened fire," Rutz said, adding that it's his understanding that there was no conversation between the victim and Taylor prior to the shooting.

Rutz could not confirm whether money was exchanged for the murder, but he said there's still work to do in uncovering details about the crime. "There's more to the story than we have yet," Rutz said.

Reader Comments

19 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

OP resident  

Posted: July 15th, 2011 11:50 AM

Thanks to the people who gave accurate information to the police. Nothing will bring the woman back but at least the family has some answers and if those charged are found guilty, they will be taken off the streets. from Editor  

Posted: July 15th, 2011 11:34 AM

Now we know the reason and relationship. These guys are just plain dumb. The woman may have been great with kids, but terrible at sizing up people. The person who said to the media the victim said she was going out for something to eat, must not have asked with who, or didn't want to mention who it was.

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 5:35 PM

*sigh*@D: I think it's a very good question to ask: what draws people from other areas into OPRF? YOU are inferring whatever innuendos you imply (I think that is a kosher sentence...)! No one said this is anything but a free country but I am not too keen on people partying in RF parks, whether they be local or otherwise. God forbid a local resident had been walking his dog and the gunman killed him as well, because he was a witness!

Cousin and friend  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 2:35 PM

I just dont understand why someone would do something like this. She was a wonderful person, always putting a smile on ppl faces. I thank god that there was a witness around, if there wasnt they wouldnt know what have happen. Im praying for my Alexander fam and her pretty lil girl. I know this is tough to take in. But asking God to cover them. Rip Nika I love you always.

A True Friend from Chicago  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 11:39 AM

The victim was a close friend of mine and she did not deserve to die that way... regardless to where she was or where she lived. I commend the police in the area for their rapid response and on catching the sick men who did it. I sincerely hope they are punished to the fullest extent of the law


Posted: July 14th, 2011 11:36 AM

More interesting details about the story from the Tribune,0,3712572.story

epic lulz  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 11:23 AM

The entire area was dark. Lighting was out at the parking lot, the park, and the Priory, which might explain why there were apparently so many young people in the park, witnesses which contradicted the ex-cop's story.

DL from River Forest  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 10:26 AM

@Jon Marcus-lighting very well could have been an issue as the power was out in that parking lot on Monday night due to the storms that morning.

Jon Marcus from River Forest  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 10:16 AM

@EP: I doubt lighting was an issue. The lighting in that parking lot is actually pretty good, especially compared with the lighting on nearby side streets. @Hank: I don't think the "racist" comment was directed at you. There was an earlier (now deleted) comment that was pretty racist. @Alison: Not 100% sure why you're wondering. But see the link Hank provided for circumstances that led them here.

EP Resident  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:56 AM

Maybe it was the Barney Fife image of the RFPD, undeserved in my opinion, that led to the selection. Maybe the -quaint- lighting in RF had something to do with the ex-cop choosing it as a perfect spot for a murder. When my kids went to school in RF, I hated evening events because there was never enough light to walk safely without twisting an ankle. Forget about trying to pick them up from a classmate's home in the evening, not enough light to find the home you say in daylight.

Hank Marquardt  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:55 AM

Gosh ... this almost isn't worth it, but alas ... I was both questioning the intelligence (or lack there of) of the criminals and giving a pat on the back to the response of local PDs ... not sure how you read more into it, but that's just me. I've posted the link to the bigger article, I'm done ... flame away. And if you didn't notice, I post under my name ... not an anonymous flamethrower

Mike from Oak Park  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:44 AM

Job well done by all the police involved. A prayer goes out to the victim and her family.

Editor from Oak Park  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:34 AM

First degree murder for all 3, appears to indicate all 3 conspired to commit. What hasn't been mentioned is where the body was left. In the parking lot, or was there an attempt to place the body, in what the boys may have thought was the woods along the Des Plaines River. Now left to go public is what the relation was, and the reason why.

D from River Forest  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:32 AM

So "Alison" wonders why "these folks were in River Forest since none of them live nearby." Aside from the victim living a few miles away in nearby Austin, what does where they live have to do with anything? Last I looked this was a free country without border guards at village boundaries and people were free to come and go as they please. Our hearts should be going out to the family of the victim instead of wondering what "these folks" were doing in River Forest. from River Forest  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:27 AM

Want to stop some of this? support gun control.USA has more gun murders than it needs.Contribute to the Brady Center. who is pocketing the money while these dopes run around killing each other and us.?

epic lulz  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:22 AM

That an ex-cop is responsible for the murder explains why the cops wouldn't give out any info. Thank goodness this didn't take place in Chicago or it would have been completely covered up by the thin blue-line there.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park  

Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:18 AM

Here you go ... Suntimes has dug the background ... ex cop, love triangle


Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:08 AM

None of the news coverage has indicated why these folks were in River Forest since none of them live nearby. It would be interesting to know the set of circumstances that caused this crime to happen where it did.


Posted: July 14th, 2011 9:03 AM


Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2018

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments