CHICAGO – One of four people accused of beating a Crystal Lake teen and broadcasting it on Facebook Live was sentenced Friday to four years of probation.
Brittany Covington, 19, of Chicago pleaded guilty to a hate crime along with aggravated battery and intimidation. Prosecutors dropped additional charges, including kidnapping, as part of a plea deal, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
A Cook County judge banned Covington from using social media for the duration of her probation and ordered her to perform 200 hours of community service, the Tribune reported.
Covington – along with her sister, Tanishia Covington, 25, Jordan Hill, 19, and Tesfaye Cooper, 19 – was accused of torturing a mentally ill Crystal Lake teen in a Jan. 3 attack.
All four were charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, as well as a pair of hate crimes – one because of the victim’s mental illness and one because of his race. The case drew widespread media attention.
Cooper, Hill and the Covington sisters are alleged to have tortured the victim for several hours. The four defendants allegedly slapped, cut, beat and mocked the victim, prosecutors have said.
Footage from the video shows the assailants cutting the gagged victim’s scalp with a knife, punching him and forcing him to drink from a toilet.
The 30-minute Facebook Live video included footage of one of the male defendants pulling a cord around the victim’s neck and holding him up while the victim is groaning in pain. A male voice is heard on the video saying, “I don’t give a [expletive] if he’s schizophrenic.”
Hill, who prosecutors said was a classmate of the victim at an alternative school, also allegedly threatened to kill the victim. The victim finally escaped after neighbors called 911 to complain about the noise coming from the apartment where the attack took place. That led to a confrontation between the defendants and the neighbors, which allowed the victim to flee before he was spotted by police.
The other cases are pending.