Crime & Safety
Tommie McDonald will mark his three-year anniversary in Will County’s Jail this month. He killed two men inside a SUV, prosecutors say.
John Ferak , Patch Staff
JOLIET, IL — As his third anniversary in the Will County Jail approaches later this month, Joliet double murder defendant Tommie McDonald still does not have a trial date for his case. However, McDonald has revealed his defense strategy in the South Chicago Street shooting deaths of 53-year-old Bernard Marble and 45-year-old Tracy L. Williams.
On Jan. 16, McDonald, now 44 years old, typed up a letter that he mailed informing the Will County Circuit Clerk staff that “I Tommie McDonald would like to request my court dockets and grand jury minutes for case 20CF 400 from July 2, 2020, until update of receiving this letter. Thank you and have a bless day.”
Meanwhile, assistant Will County Public Defenders Jaya Varghese and Stephen Whitmore have notified Will County officials of McDonald’s defense for his double murder charges. McDonald faces four counts of first-degree murder, one count of armed habitual criminal, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Joliet police say the double murders occurred around 12:50 a.m. near Chicago Street and 5th Avenue back on Feb. 26, 2020.
Officers found Marble and Williams inside a sports utility vehicle. The 45-year-old Williams was already dead when police got there. Marble died at St. Joe’s hospital.
Williams was fatally shot as he sat behind the wheel, while Marble was shot in the back seat, according to Joliet police.
“The defendant intends to assert the defense of use of force in defense of person … self-defense,” states a court document from McDonald’s two public defenders.
Three years ago, Will County Judge Brian Barrett set McDonald’s bail at $10 million. That day in court, prosecutors revealed how McDonald left his work ID, his keys and his cellphone inside the sports utility vehicle where Willams and Marble were fatally shot.
According to prosecutors, McDonald had spent a portion of the previous day riding around with Williams and smoking PCP over the course of several hours. Later that night, Williams, along with McDonald, drove to one of the Joliet gas stations near McDonough Street and South Chicago Street, and that’s where they picked up Marble, according to 2020 court testimony.
McDonald has spent several years of his life incarcerated for various Will County crimes.
His most recent term came in 2016 when McDonald was sentenced to seven years in prison for possession of a gun by a street gang member. He was scheduled for release on Feb. 8, 2019, which was one year before the double murders on South Chicago Street.
Illinois Department of Corrections records indicated that McDonald would live at his mother’s house in Joliet in the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue. Will County Jail records list that address for McDonald in his ongoing double murder case.
At the time of his seven-year prison sentence from February 2016, prosecutors outlined that McDonald had a loaded .38 revolver in his pocket following a traffic stop in which he was a passenger in the 400 block of Gardner Street. McDonald did not have a FOID, and is a member of the Gangster Disciples, court files showed.
He also served prison sentences at the Ilinois Department of Corrections starting in 1997, 1999, 2008 and 2012.
Related Joliet Patch coverage:
Joliet Double Murder Defendant Gets OK To Attend Dad’s Funeral
Killer Tommie McDonald Left ID, Cellphone In Victims’ Auto: Prosecutors
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