The exact details of who was sitting inside of a vehicle with 19-year-old Alaysia Bennett when she was callously murdered are up for debate. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the teen’s life was unnecessarily cut short by three men who botched a robbery attempt. On December 21, 2016, it’s reported that Alaysia, two other adults, and a three-year-old child were all sitting in a car in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Springfield, Illinois when someone approached and opened fire.
Alaysia Bennett was the only person struck in the incident as multiple news outlets have reported that everyone else inside of the vehicle walked away physically unharmed. Some publications claim that the toddler in the car was Alaysia’s child, while others state that the three-year-old belonged to her sister.
“Alaysia Bennett was a completely innocent victim of senseless gun violence,” said Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright. A manhunt was quickly underway and eventually, authorities would arrest 25-year-old Devante Taylor, 26-year-old Roderick Gailes, and 30-year-old Demarco Jones (ages reflected from the date of incident). The trio faced multiple charges including counts of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and armed robbery. Prosecutors stated that the men plotted to rob the vehicle Alaysia was in before everything went awry.
The outcome from at least one trial has been shared publicly, and that’s of Devante Taylor. He ended up pleading guilty to first-degree murder, but with the condition that he’s mentally ill. He was fingered to be the person that pulled the trigger and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The conditions of Taylor’s plea deal stated that the Department of Corrections could, if necessary, transfer Taylor to the Depart of Human Services for occasional mental health evaluations. However, he would have to serve his full sentence in prison regardless of transfers or incarceration spent elsewhere because of his mental illness.
Demarco Jones and Roderick Gailes’s sentences have either not yet occurred or they haven’t been made public. Hopefully, justice was served.
Please share this story about Alaysia Bennett to continue the conversation about her life. She is our sister and her life matters.