An Illinois State prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for two people charged with shooting dead a veteran Illinois police officer with her own weapon as she pleaded for her life on the ground and critically wounding her partner, who is now fighting for his life.
Although Illinois isn’t a death penalty state, the U.S. Attorney General can authorize the filing of a petition to seek out the punishment in certain federal murder cases.
In court on Monday, Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe painted the picture of a cold-blooded killing that deserved that designation during a bond hearing for Xandria Harris, 26, of Bradley in the county’s Circuit Court.
She and Darius Sullivan of Bourbonnais 25, are charged with fatally shooting Bradley police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, 49, and critically wounding her partner, Officer Tyler Bailey, 27, late Wednesday. Bailey is hospitalized at a Chicago-area hospital.
At the time Sullivan fired the fatal shots into Sgt. Rittmanic, Sgt. Rittmanic was pleading with them to just leave, “you don’t have to do this, please just go, please don’t please don’t.” She was desperately pleading for her life, Rowe said, according to court documents.
“I will be submitting an official request to the U.S. Attorney General for the Central District of Illinois and to the U.S. Attorney General to review the first degree murder case pending against Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris for federal murder charges, and pursue a federal sentence of death against both defendants,” Rowe said.
The State´s Attorney will also seek life sentences for both Sullivan and Harris as the existing state-level charges proceed, Rowe said.
Judge Kathy Bradshaw Elliott granted a request to deny Harris bail.
“You are a real threat to the community,” Elliott told Harris.
Rittmanic and Bailey were responding to a report of dogs barking in an unattended vehicle at the motel on Wednesday when they were shot.
When the officers ran the car’s license plates, they discovered that it belonged to Sullivan. Bailey knew that Sullivan was wanted on a bench warrant, according to court documents, and that he had previously run from Bradley police officers trying to arrest him.
The two officers knocked on the door of room 308, where Sullivan and Harris were staying, for about 15 minutes. Harris repeatedly told them through the door that she was getting dressed.
Finally, she opened the door and tried to wedge her way outside and close the door behind her, hiding Sullivan from officers.
They asked her multiple times to move out of the way before Sullivan emerged, wielding a 9mm handgun equipped with a drum clip. He pointed the barrel and Bailey and shot him point-blank in the head.
He shot Rittmanic as she tried to run away, according to court documents. Then, his gun jammed – he tried to unjam the weapon with his right hand and mouth while he used his left hand to try to disarm Rittmanic.
Harris ran down the hallway towards the struggle, and Sullivan allegedly told her to ‘cock the gun, cock the gun.’ With her help, Sullivan takes Rittmanic’s service weapon from her, which he used to shoot her in the head.
Sullivan was arrested after a 36-hour manhunt by U.S. Marshals and a SWAT team on Friday near Fort Wayne at a home in North Manchester, Indiana, police said.
Bailey underwent surgery for head injuries and remained in very critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, officials said.
Female cop ‘begged for her life’ before being disarmed and shot dead with her own gun at Illinois hotel: Prosecutors seek death penalty for two people arrested for her murder and for critically injuring her partner