Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine announced the charges made against an 18-year-old man who was left home with a 15-month-old child, who he pummeled and brutally sexually assaulted, ultimately leading to her death after being left under his care for a few hours. The twice-convicted felon faces a death sentence for his incomprehensible sexual assault actions and malicious murder of the innocent child.
Drew Terrell, 18, was convicted of First-Degree Murder and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault for the brutal beating and savage sexual assault that he has put upon the 15-month-old Laura Hampton, which eventually caused her death. The defendant also faces death sentences, by which the jury found no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the imposition of death sentences.
The defendant is the child of Elizabeth Terrell who happened to have known ‘Markeeter’ Hampton, the mother of Laura Hampton, for approximately four years prior to their moving in together. The two mothers have decided to live together in a second-floor apartment at 3316 W. 21st Street in Chicago and have just recently moved in a few days before the gruesome incident. At approximately 8:20 am, in the morning of August 27, 1985, the victim’s mother has left her 15-month-old child under the care of the Terrell’s and proceeded to go to her work. Later on, Elizabeth Terrell, mother of the defendant, also left the house to go to a currency exchange shop and left the child on the bed where she was currently sleeping.
The subsequent events following the exit of the defendant’s mother has not been thoroughly established due to the defendant’s incomprehensible testimonies; however, the defendant claimed that approximately 10 minutes after Elizabeth left the house, the 15-month-old baby began crying, to which he responded by hitting her hard on the back with an open hand. He then changed her wet diaper and continuously struck her. It was also reported that after smelling what the defendant believed to be a bowel movement, he decided to clean the baby up and subsequently murderously sexually assaulted the child. The defendant claimed in his police reports that he had inserted a Q-tip into the baby’s vagina, “looking for a pain response.” This statement, however, does not align with the pieces of evidence revealed by an expert in pediatric critical care.
Upon arriving back home, Elizabeth has been informed by Terrell that there had been an accident and claimed that the stereo had fallen on the baby – the defendant’s poor attempt at concealing his gruesome actions. Elizabeth saw Laura and noticed the bruises on her face, as well as her dazed face and “rolling” eyes. She then immediately wrapped the child in a beach towel and, with the help of a neighbor, got Laura to St. Anthony’s hospital. The doctors of the hospital informed the detectives who were called that the vagina of the 15-month-old child appeared to have been ripped and torn, and with very little connecting tissue between the vagina and the child’s anus. It was further reported that the injuries of Laura were not consistent with the defendant’s claim of having the stereo fall on top of the victim.
Due to the extent of Laura’s injuries, she was transferred to Cook County Hospital. She was treated in the pediatric intensive care unit where she was attended to by an expert in pediatric critical care, Dr. Demetra Soter. At approximately 1:30 pm of August 27, 1985, Laura was noted to have been unconscious and unresponsive. It was also reported that she had “fresh blood dripping from her vagina and rectum,” which were also noted to have massive lacerations described to have been ripped not by a finger nor a Q-tip, but possibly by either around four or five adult fingers with a degree of force, a penis, or a foreign object in order to cause the intense injuries on the child. Despite the efforts to save the victim’s life, Laura Hampton died at 4:45 pm of the same day.
An autopsy on the 15-month-old child was performed by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Stein who established that Laura died as a result of “multiple internal and external injuries with lacerations of the vagina and rectum contributing to her death.”
Beyond his merciless acts on the unfortunate day of August 27, 1985, the defendant also has prior criminal background where he has attacked and robbed two men in two different occasions, to which he was sentenced to a two-year probationary status and a six-month incarceration in the Cook County Department of Corrections. During his detention term, the Record Office Supervisor at the Dixon Correctional Center – Jim Utley revealed that the defendant had 13 disciplinary reports, which include attacks on officers in charge.
The Honorable Fred Suria found Drew Terrell guilty as charged and sentenced the defendant to death in 1986, following a bench trial. The death sentence was vacated three years later but was re-imposed on May 26, 1995, following a second sentencing hearing before a jury. Another three years later, on December 31, 1998, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the defendant’s death sentence. After about 17 years from the death of Laura Hampton, the defendant will be in court for a status date on November 24, 2002, following the denial for his request for clemency.
Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine commends the Assistant State’s Attorneys James P. McKay, Jr., John G. Murphy, Kathleen Warnick, and Nancy Faulls for their exemplary efforts on the case.
Updated: October 9, 2020