Charges filed in Christmas slaying of pregnant Cal City teen

2013-12-28T22:26:00Z 2013-12-29T23:03:12Z Charges filed in Christmas slaying of pregnant Cal City teenLauri Harvey Keagle, (219) 852-4311

DOLTON | Police said late Saturday that the boyfriend of a pregnant Calumet City teen shot her Christmas night in Dolton.

In a news conference shown live on NBC 5, Police Chief John Franklin said Eva Casara's boyfriend, Anthony Lee, 16, and his brother, 21-year-old Diante Coakley, were charged with first degree murder in connection with her shooting death.

A third suspect also is being sought, Franklin said.

The motive appears to have been attempted robbery involving drug dealers, Franklin said. Some of Casara's personal belongings were found in a car recovered as part of the investigation, he said.

A news conference by the Cook County state's attorneys office is expected at the Cook County Jail on Sunday morning after the bond hearing for the suspects, Franklin said.

The announcement came hours after city officials, family members, friends and community activists gathered in Dolton to remember Casara.

"The violence out here is not for these children," Jennifer Ross, Casara's aunt, said through tears. "They don't get a chance to grow."

Casara, 17, was shot in the back of the head Christmas night and died Thursday. Casara was found at 7:43 p.m. Wednesday on the ground in an alley at 152nd Street and Greenwood Road.

Investigators said she was shot at 152nd Street and Dorchester Avenue and moved.

Franklin said late Saturday investigators believe Lee and Coakley moved Casara in a panic after she was shot and wounded.

Casara was initially transported to Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Hammond before being transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She was pronounced dead at 10:57 a.m. Thursday.

Casara was 5 1/2 months pregnant. Her baby, named Lailani Paris Casara, survived and remains in the neonatal intensive care unit at Christ Medical Center.

About 100 people gathered Saturday night with balloons, flowers, candles and signs in the alley where Casara was shot. The group then marched to 152nd Street and Dorchester Avenue.

Lorna Sanders, Casara's great-aunt, held 17 pink balloons in the alley where her niece was found, "one for each year of life and one heart balloon for the baby."

Sanders said Lailani "took a turn for the worse" on Saturday and family members were called to the hospital.

"We're asking for prayers for the baby," she said. "She's a fighter, like her mom."

Casara's cousin, Morgan Quinn, 15, of Calumet City, recalled her last conversation with Casara through tears.

"It was mostly about the baby and how excited she was," Quinn said. "She was talking about the baby shower and how she wanted everything pink. The last thing she said was 'I love you' and I told her I loved her, too."

Family members said Casara lived most of her life in Chicago before moving recently to Calumet City. In Chicago, she was a gymnast and competed in citywide tournaments. She was also a cheerleader at Hubbard High School in the city's West Lawn neighborhood.

Supporters gathered with balloons, flowers and candles to march and call for justice Saturday night.

"She's not a statistic," said Ross, her aunt. "She was beautiful, kind, loving."

Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers said the killing is "not only tragic, but it's also an embarrassment to our community."

Franklin said at the vigil that the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force recovered "some critical evidence" Friday and Saturday.

Franklin said the Casara investigation has hit him and his officers hard.

"We're all parents," he said. "We all have children."

Community activist Andrew Holmes embraced Casara's weeping mother, Esterita Casara, and spoke on behalf of the family.

"The family wants to thank the chief and the task force," Holmes said.

Family members said arrangements for Casara are pending.

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