A 31-year-old Little Village man who broke into a West Side home four years ago and killed the homeowner was spared the death penalty Tuesday and instead will serve 70 years in prison.
Cook County Circuit Judge Diane Cannon ruled that Jerone Cook was eligible for the death penalty, but imposed the lesser sentence after hearing arguments from prosecutors and Cook’s attorney.
Cook was found guilty on March 29 for the shooting death of Jessie Foreman, 39, after Cook invaded Foreman’s home on the first block of South Mayfield Avenue. Cook also was found guilty of the attempted murder of Foreman’s wife and of home invasion.
Jacqueline Ross, Cook’s attorney, argued Tuesday that Cook should not be eligible for the death penalty since the shot that killed Foreman did not come from Cook’s gun, but from the gun of a police officer.
Officers were called to Foreman’s home on Jan. 11, 2001, after reports of a man with a gun. When they arrived, they found Cook. Gunshots were exchanged, and Foreman was hit.
Prosecutors said Foreman was shot eight times, and even though Cook did not fire the fatal shot he was responsible for Foreman’s death. Prosecutors also argued that by walking into Foreman’s house with a gun, Cook started the chain of events that led to Foreman being killed.
“[Cook] set the ball in motion,” the judge said.