Crime & Courts

Final defendant in Facebook live torture case pleads guilty

Tesfaye Cooper
Tesfaye Cooper

The last of four people accused of kidnapping a mentally disabled Crystal Lake teen, then tying up, cutting and burning him on a live video stream, pleaded guilty to felony charges Thursday.

Tesfaye Cooper pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and hate crime, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandra Simonton said.

Judge William Hooks scheduled Cooper’s sentencing for July 26.

Also pleading guilty in the January 2017 kidnapping were sisters Brittany and Tanisha Covington, both of Chicago, and Jordan Hill of Carpentersville.

The four were indicted in February on charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Hate crime charges also were filed in reference to mentions of race and the victim’s reported mental disabilities.

The live video showed the group taunting and harming the victim, who is said to suffer from schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.

At different times, the accused men and women could be seen cutting the victim’s sweatshirt, taking a knife to the boy’s head, and forcing him to say “I love black people” and “F*** Trump.” 

Hill and the teen were acquaintances who had attended the same alternative school, prosecutors have said.

Hill is serving an eight-year prison sentence at Stateville Correctional Center for aggravated kidnapping and committing a hate crime. His is the heftiest sentence to be issued for the attack so far.

Brittany Covington was sentenced to four years of probation after pleading guilty in 2017, and Tanishia Covington was given three years in prison for her role in the crime.

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