Man sentenced to 35 years in fatal shooting of 311 dispatcher

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CHICAGO — An 18-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting a Chicago 311 dispatcher as she headed home from work was sentenced to 35 years in prison Thursday.

According to detectives, in May 2016 then 15-year-old Javion Harris fired multiple shots at a rival gang member near 35th Street and State Street, just two blocks from police headquarters.

A stray bullet struck and killed 49-year-old Yvonne Nelson, a longtime 311 dispatcher, as she left a nearby Starbucks. A 19-year-old man, also a bystander, was wounded but survived the shooting. Harris was found guilty on two counts of murder, and one count of attempted murder.

Supporters hoped for leniency given his age at the time of the deadly shooting. But in the courtroom, Judge Slattery Boyle scolded Harris for his, “reckless actions.”

“This was a Friday afternoon, broad daylight,” Cook County Judge Maura Slattery Boyle said at Harris’ sentencing Thursday. “A university there. A high school right there, police headquarters.”

The sobering sight of the convicted gunman receiving his 35 year prison sentence at the Leighton Criminal Courts building provided no comfort to Nelson’s family.

“A guilty verdict does not give us any satisfaction.  In cases like this, nobody wins,” sister Juanita Nelson said.


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