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Appeals court upholds teen’s conviction in Streator killing

An appeals court has upheld the conviction of a teen killer serving 35 years for the murder of a Streator woman in 2018.

Tamil D. Adams, now 20, was convicted for his role in the killing of Maria Delatorre, who sustained fatal gunshot wounds as she arrived home and stumbled into a robbery that had gone awry. Adams, then 16, was found guilty of felony murder.

On appeal, Adams argued there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him and the resulting sentence was excessive when compared with that of co-defendant Hashim Waite, who pleaded guilty to a reduced charge. (The getaway driver, Ashanti Roberts, is appealing her conviction for felony murder.) Adams also argued his rights as a juvenile suspect were violated.

But in a Monday ruling, the Third District Appellate Court shot down Adams’ appeal point-by-point and refused to throw out his conviction and sentence.

In the ruling, Justice Vicki Wright ruled witnesses “readily” established Adams attempted to commit a robbery, which in turn made him culpable for any resulting death.

“Here, testimony at trial readily established that Delatorre was shot and killed while (Adams) was fleeing the scene after his failed robbery attempt,” Wright wrote. “In other words, the killing occurred during the course of (his) escape from a forcible felony and is thus within the operation of the felony-murder rule.”

As for the sentencing disparity with Waite, the justice wrote, “(Adams) and Waite were not equally culpable” and evidence showed the robbery was Adams’ idea.

The justices also affirmed the decision to transfer Adams’ case from a juvenile venue to adult court and upheld Ryan’s decision to admit evidence of the previous robbery in the Delatorre home. The appeals court also upheld the admission of Adams’ statements to police and dismissed his claims of ineffective counsel.

“Here, while (Adams) relies almost exclusively on the fact that he did not have a parent or concerned adult present, our Supreme Court has specifically stated that that fact alone is not reason enough to suppress a juvenile’s statement,” Wright ruled. “Additionally, (Adams) never requested to speak with his parents or a concerned adult.”

Adams began his sentence in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice but was transferred in July to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He’s scheduled for parole in 2053, shortly before his 52nd birthday.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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