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Published on April 22, 2024
Not Guilty Plea from Chicago Man Accused in Edgewater Nightmare, Charged with Boy's Murder and Mom's StabbingSource: Chicago Police Department

A Chicago man, recently sprung from jail, has declared his innocence after being slammed with charges for the harrowing murder of an 11-year-old boy and the brutal stabbing of his pregnant mother, according to information from CBS Chicago. Crosetti Brand, 37, entered a not guilty plea Monday to a staggering 17-count indictment which includes first-degree murder amidst the outrage over his alleged crimes which shocked the Edgewater neighborhood.

Prosecutors allege that Brand launched a violent attack the day after his parole release, storming into his ex-girlfriend Laterria Smith's apartment on North Ravenswood Avenue and stabbing her in the neck. Smith's son, Jayden Perkins, tried to protect his mother and was fatally stabbed in the chest during the confrontation. The attack occurred mere hours before a scheduled court hearing regarding Smith's order of protection against Brand, which had frustratingly been denied despite her efforts, CBS Chicago reported.

In the wake of the incident, former Prisoner Review Board chair Donald Shelton and board member LeAnn Miller stepped down under the hot glare of scrutiny following the disclosure that Brand’s parole approval happened just one day before he allegedly carried out the violent assault, per the CBS Chicago report.

Amid the courtroom drama where family members tried, and were restrained from rushing at Brand, Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling expressed grim condemnation, "that should never happened." Adding to the community's effort to rally around the victims, a fund has been established in support of Perkins' family, already garnering over $50,000, as noted by 48th Ward Alderwoman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, informed ABC 7 Chicago.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx reflected the turmoil in the wake of the tragedy, understanding the public's declining confidence in the system, she emphasized, "this is horrific and we need to do an evaluation, particularly in this case and others, to ensure that there were no gaps in the justice system" according to ABC 7 Chicago. Smith, who sustained critical injuries, remains hospitalized at Saint Francis. Her six-year-old son, also at the scene of the crime, escaped physical harm.