Chicago Gang “Enforcer” Faces Death Penalty for Multiple Murders
Acting State’s Attorney of Cook County, Patrick T. Driscoll Jr., announced the charges made against a Chicago gang “enforcer” who currently faces death penalty to which the man was found eligible under multiple murder theory, for multiple murder convictions that spanned over the previous decade.
Cortez Brown, “enforcer” of the Chicago gang – Gangster Disciple, was found eligible for the death sentence for the murder of his second victim on the ground that the defendant has committed multiple murders, with no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death penalty. The defendant had previously faced the death sentence; however, the case remains pending as the appellate court reversed the defendant’s conviction due to an error in jury instructions. The defendant’s current first-degree murder conviction has now been affirmed by the Appellate Court, and eventually imposed the second death sentence of the defendant on the grounds of multiple murder factor.
The beginning of the defendant’s killing spree was on December 3, 1989, when he became the triggerman in a drive-by attempted murder of a rival gang member. Seventeen-year-old Ramonde Sims was the first victim of the defendant. The young boy was walking to his grandmother’s house on a snowy morning when the defendant came by and shot him in the head. Fortunately, Ramonde Sims survived after the incident; however, the subsequent two victims of the defendant were not as fortunate.
In 1990, the defendant was appointed as an “enforcer” of the Gangster Disciple. In this capacity, he was responsible for protecting the gang’s operations, even through violent means. He became an “enforcer” from one who used to be a “soldier” responsible for dealing drugs on the street. His first victim as an “enforcer” was Curtis Sims – an innocent man who was a father of five young children.
In the early morning hours of June 8, 1990, the defendant, along with Dwayne Macklin, was on a hunt for “Vice Lords” as a part of their gang activities; however, instead of taking down their target, the defendant and his cohort murdered Curtis Sims whose wife was nine months pregnant with their fifth baby. The victim was reported to be sitting on his front porch with his friend Christopher Posey, who managed to escape. Curtis Smith was shot three times by an Uzi gun and a .9-millimeter handgun once each in the back, buttocks, and leg. He died the following day. During this incident, the defendant was said to be in probationary status for a felony case related to drug trafficking. Unfortunately, only his cohort, Dwayne Macklin, was the only one apprehended for the case. As such, the defendant remained on the loose, carrying the Uzi gun – a sawed-off shotgun.
On September 16, 1990, the defendant had set out to kill his third victim who was said to be a Black Disciple named “Zeb”. Similar to his second case, the defendant, along with three other co-conspirators, armed themselves with the Uzi gun – a sawed-off shotgun – and two handguns and killed an unarmed man who was not their target “Zeb”. Instead, they murdered, in a cold, calculated manner, a man named Delvin Boelter who was just returning home from the store. Cortez Brown was not apprehended for this crime until four days later, following another crime that he had just again committed.
Two days after the shooting of Boelter, the third victim of the defendant, Cortez Brown, had just victimized another innocent individual. On September 18, 2020, the defendant stole a Toyota Four-Runner from a man named Sylvester Taylor, who had just dropped off his family members at their house near the 74th and Kenwood streets of Chicago. The defendant was said to be a passenger during this incident, where Brown and his accomplices ordered the victim, at gunpoint, to surrender all his valuables including his pieces of jewelry, shoes, jacket, and prescription glasses before ordering him out of the car, somewhere around 40 blocks away from where they got into the car of the victim.
Another two days later, on September 20, 1990, the defendant was found in the stolen Toyota Four-Runner and was arrested by the police. Cortez Brown attempted to escape by jumping off the moving car and running into a woody area. Upon getting caught, the defendant tried to dodge the police by turning his coat inside out and faking his identity, claiming that he was a 15-year-old guy named Richard Mitchell; however, fingerprints revealed his true identity of being the 19-year-old man the police have been searching for.
The defendant faces various charges for his actions. In May 1992, Cortez Brown was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for his second murder victim, Delvin Boelter. A few months later, on August 31, 1992, Cortez Brown was convicted for his first murder victim, Curtis Sims. The defendant was indicted by Judge Strayhorn who also imposed the death penalty for the murder of Curtis Smith, considering multiple murder convictions, and found no mitigating factors to drop the death sentence.
Due to an error in jury instructions, The Appellate Court reversed the defendant’s conviction for the murder of Delvin Boelter but was again convicted later, on February 24, 1997. Cortez Brown’s case was heard in a bench trial before Judge James Schreier, who found the defendant guilty of First-Degree murder for felony murder and intentional murder and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. With this conviction, the eligibility of for his first death sentence for the murder of Curtis Sims is now established on the grounds of multiple murder theory.
In August of 1999, a new sentencing hearing was made before Judge Colleen McSweeney-Moore to decide on the murder case of Curtis Sims. For the second time, Cortez Brown was found guilty as charged, and eligible for the death penalty. Until October of 2002, the case remains under hearing as Cortez Brown’s death sentence remains yet to be affirmed.
Interim Cook County State’s Attorney Patrick T. Driscoll, Jr. commends the Assistant State’s Attorneys Bernard J. Murray, Scott Cassidy, and Julie Line Bailey.
Updated: September 28, 2020