A judge sentenced a man to 29 years in prison after he was convicted of killing an “innocent man” during a robbery in Lake Villa in 2018.
Jordan L. Toney, 22, of Lake Villa, and Buddy W. Johnson, 23, of Lake Villa, were both charged in July 2018 with seven counts of first-degree murder.
Toney appeared in court on Friday and entered into a negotiated plea deal with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Toney, who initially pleaded not guilty in the case, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors dismissing his other counts.
A Lake County judge approved the deal and sentenced the man to 29 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
He will receive credit for time served in the Lake County Jail since his arrest.
Johnson is scheduled to appear in court on November 1 and is also expected to enter into a plea agreement.
Both men were arrested in July 2018 in connection with the death of 58-year-old Jerry Griffith, who resided in Lake Villa.
The Lake Villa Police Department was called on the evening of July 21, 2018, to an area near the Walgreens in the 300 block of East Grand Avenue in Lake Villa for a report of an injured person in an alley.
Police officers arrived and found Griffith dead.
Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at the time that Toney and Johnson robbed Griffith as he was walking home after making a purchase at a local business.
Covelli said that Toney and Johnson “severally beat the man” and he fell to the ground where he died from his injuries.
The two men fled the scene but were later caught after police used video surveillance to identify them.
Toney and Johnson did not know the victim. An autopsy performed on Griffith confirmed that he died from multiple traumatic injuries, the Lake County Coroner’s Office said.
“This man did nothing wrong. He was an innocent victim, minding his own business when he encountered evil in that alley,” then Lake Villa Police Chief Craig Somerville said.
“This incident is not reflective of the community of Lake Villa, a family-orientated town populated by great people. This was a tragic, senseless act of random violence that, unfortunately, can occur anywhere,” Somerville said.