July 18, 2011 -- A 911 call reporting the drive-by shooting of a Chicago woman was made by her ex-cop boyfriend who is now being charged with her murder.
Devin Bickham Sr., 39, his son, Devin Bickham Jr., 20, and a third man, Cardell Taylor, 35, have all been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly orchestrating and committing the murder of Chervon Alexander, Bickham Sr.'s girlfriend.
Bickham Sr. was a former North Chicago police officer, according to local reports. Last Monday, he pulled into a River Forest parking lot that authorities say was darkened after an electrical outage. The State Attorney's office said that he and Alexander were in a romantic relationship. According to local police Bickham was married.
"Bickham Sr. thought that the victim was interfering with his life and wanted her out of the way, allegedly," said Chief Deputy Craig Rutz from the River Forest police department. "[Alexander] had told others that she was going to be getting married in August."
According to Rutz, on the night of the drive-by, "two people stopped their car on Division Street right in front of victim's car. One walked through the bushes and shot [Alexander]." Andy Conklin from the State's Attorney's office said that Taylor shot Alexander with a hand gun several times in the mouth, shoulder and chest.
In his frantic 911 call, Bickham Sr. claimed ignorance of the shooter's identity, crying, "My girlfriend got shot." When the 911 operator asked Bickham who shot his girlfriend, the former-cop replied, "I don't know. Some guy but he kept going. Help me." When asked if his girlfriend was breathing, Bickham's emotional response was almost unintelligible. "No. She's gone. She's not breathing. Oh please."
But according to Forest Park police authorities, the father had been in communication with his son, who was with Taylor, about the whereabouts of the couple.
"Allegedly there are some text messages between [Bickham] Jr. and [Bickham] Sr. It appears that senior Bickham guided them to the location where they would be," Rutz said. "It gave the appearance that he was setting up the murder."
Four minutes after Bickham's 911 call, combined task forces from Forest Park and Oak Park police lead the arrest of Bickham Jr. and Taylor. Bickham Jr. allegedly told police that the hand gun was thrown into his car from the intersection of Harlem and Division. Taylor demanded his money owed from the Bickham's saying, "I want my money now."
"[Taylor] had been recruited to commit the murder for $400," Conklin said. "They paid him $200 and still owed him $200."
After their arrest, the two were brought to the scene of the crime, where Bickham Sr. claimed that he did not know them, according to Conklin.
"It sounds like an attempt to create an alibi," Rutz said about Bickham Sr.'s 911 call and feigned ignorance.
The State Attorney's Office said that Bickham Jr. and Taylor have now both made videotaped confessions admitting to the scheme, including that they had been recruited to kill the victim and that they were in communication with Bickham Sr. Conklin also said that the older Bickham made statements saying that "he had admitted the gun was his. He admitted to telling his son where he was and that he was bringing the victim to the area where the shooting occurred."
Bickham Sr.'s attorney, Mike Clancy, maintains his client's innocence.
"This is something that I believe, at the end of the day when it goes to trial, my client is going to be found innocent," said Clancy to ABC affiliate, WLS.
According to local authorities, father and son lived together in Blue Island. The elder Bickham had filed for bankruptcy twice in the past. Currently, both family members, as well as Taylor, are being held without bond in Cook County Jail. A preliminary hearing is set for July 21.
Rutz said that Alexander, mother of two young children according to WLS, wanted to become a police officer.
Trey Wilson, the victim's cousin, told WLS, "Everybody liked her, she had no enemies. She's a good person. It's a sad situation to happen."