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18-Year-Old Murder Suspect Had Lengthy Juvenile Record, Prosecutors Say

 Courtney Bailey, 18, was denied bail Wednesday on allegations he murdered Byron Driver in 2015.
Courtney Bailey, 18, was denied bail Wednesday on allegations he murdered Byron Driver in 2015.
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DNAinfo; Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Austin teen already in Cook County Jail for pending gun and battery cases has been charged in a 2015 murder.

"You pose a danger and a threat to everyone," Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told 18-year-old Courtney Bailey during a bond hearing Wednesday. "You will be held without bail."

Bailey is accused of gunning down 27-year-old Byron Driver as he walked through Austin about 7:15 p.m. May 31, 2015. Bailey was 16 at the time.

According to Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini, Bailey was arrested 33 times as a juvenile on allegations including robbery, armed robbery, retail theft, delivery of a controlled substance and aggravated battery.

Bailey was charged as an adult this spring with possessing a gun without a valid FOID card. Bail was set at $75,000, court records show.

While free on bond in that case, Bailey racked up additional charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after a traffic stop in which Bailey reportedly reversed his car into Chicago Police officers and tried to drive off, Santini said. Bail in that case was set at $250,000.

According to prosecutors, Driver was walking south in the 100 block of North Cicero Avenue about 7:15 p.m. May 31, 2015, when a small four-door SUV pulled up alongside him.

Bailey and at least one other gunman got out of the SUV, walked toward Driver and began shooting, Santini said. When the man fell to the ground, the gunmen walked closer and began shooting again at close range, prosecutors said.

Driver was shot in his spine, thighs and back, and was pronounced dead a short while later, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Prosecutors did not provide a possible motive Wednesday, but did note Bailey was part of the Gangster Disciples street gang.

At that point, Santini said, Bailey and his accomplice got back in the SUV and sped away along with several friends. An off-duty Chicago Police officer witnessed the shooting, prosecutors said, but was purposely blocked from chasing the gunmen by a Toyota on the scene.

The officer got the car's license plate and soon learned it was a Hertz rental car from suburban Des Plaines, Santini said. The vehicle had been registered to a Gangster Disciple known to associate with Bailey.

Both Bailey and the renter were inside the Toyota when it was stopped by police the following month, prosecutors said. Police found inside the car a .40 caliber gun loaded with eight bullets. State testing would later reveal the gun was a match to shell casings recovered at the scene of the murder, according to Santini.

Bailey is charged with first-degree murder.