Two young boys who dropped a 5-year-old to his death from a 14th floor apartment because he wouldn’t steal candy for them will be confined to a youth home for no more than 10 years, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The boys, now 11 and 12, were convicted of the juvenile equivalent of first-degree murder. They could be kept in custody until they are 21 years old, but could be released earlier if a court determines they have made enough progress.
Juvenile Court Judge Carol Kelly said she wants the state to locate a center that can offer hope of returning the boys to society.
Five-year old Eric Morse was killed Oct. 13, 1994, when he was dangled, then dropped from a 14th-floor window at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Ida B. Wells apartment building.
Eric had accompanied the boys to a vacant 14th-floor apartment in the building. His 9-year-old brother, Derrick, testified that the older boys lured the brothers there by asking if they wanted to see a clubhouse.
Prosecutors said the suspects were angry because Eric had gotten them in trouble with their mothers and wouldn’t steal candy for them.
The older boy grabbed Eric and hung him out the window, Derrick testified.
“I pulled him back in,” Derrick said. But the boys grabbed Eric and hung him out the window again. When Derrick grabbed his brother’s arm, one of the boys bit his hand to make him let go.
Derrick said he ran down the staircase, hoping to catch his younger brother before he crashed to the ground.