CHICAGO — In the summer of 2009, 9-year-old Chastity Turner was bathing her dogs, Pinky, Diamond and Max, in her front yard when gunmen unleashed a storm of gunfire on her house. Chastity turned and tried to run but she was cut down in her driveway, shot in the back.
The shooters, engaged in a gangland drug turf war, were gunning for her dad.
Five years later, two of those men finally met justice in a Chicago courtroom.
Known on the street as "Big Stupid," 31-year-old Kevin Stanley was one of the triggermen. Ronald Henderson, 33, was behind the wheel of a stolen van that sped down the street spraying bullets. Another gunman, Davionne Whitefield, 22, awaits trial.
As Chastity washed her dogs, a large group of kids played with water balloons nearby. Prosecutors said the gunmen saw Chastity and the other children in the line of fire and they just "didn't care." A jury found them guilty Wednesday of murder and attempted murder. The girl's father, Andre, a member of a rival Gangster Disciple faction, and two other men were wounded.
"The motive was greed and taking control of the block," Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Lattanzio said. "Money sales were number one. Drug sales were number one."
The killers were dispatched by a gang leader known as "Gargamel" — an apparent reference to the bad guy in the Smurfs cartoons — who wanted to take Turner's drug corner in the Englewood community by force, according to the Chicago Tribune, after Turner rebuffed offers of a partnership.
Her death — one of 459 in the city that year — stirred her neighborhood's congressman, Bobby Rush, to lament the wave of violence sweeping the city, saying its neighborhoods were becoming "graveyards."
"Chastity Turner now joins a long list of fallen angels who have been cut down by gun violence in their own community," Rush said. "Every time we lose a young person to this random and senseless violence, the entire community is the victim."
Overrun with gangs and poverty, the murder rate in Chastity's neighborhood and others nearby is 10 times higher than in other Chicago neighborhoods. The seemingly intractable problem is a point of focus in Chicagoland, a CNN docuseries now running on the cable network.
Chastity's family, however, doesn't need to watch TV to know this. They live in it and with it every day.
Outside the courtroom after the verdict, Chastity’s aunt Royennea Petty told the Chicago Sun-Times, "we are finally at peace. ... It’s a bittersweet day for us."