KANKAKEE — Terrance L. Love will spend the next 40 years in prison for shooting and killing 13-year-old Andrevion “AJ” Jones in July 2015.
Love was 16 when he opened fire on a group of 10 teens that included Jones in the 200 block of North Cottage Avenue on July 9, 2015.
Jones was shot in the head, He died two days later after he was taken off life support at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.
The shooting led to several community gatherings organized to put greater focus on the innocent lives affected by gunfire in Kankakee.
Love was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Since Love was younger than the age of 18 at the time of the shooting, his sentencing was based on guidelines brought about from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama (2012). The court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentencing structure that mandates a life-without-parole sentence for juveniles who have been convicted of murder.
“He was my first born son. I feel hopeless and lost without AJ,” said his mother, Nacahya Jones. “I cannot go in his room. Nothing has changed in there. His sister tries to make me smile. She doesn’t want me to be sad. She hurts, and AJ’s two brothers hurt.’’
Jones said Love needed to take responsibility for his actions and asked Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott to give him the highest sentence.
“Terrance Love, you still have your life. You still have breath.”
AJ would have graduated from Kankakee High School this year. Jones said she received an honorary diploma.
Love read a statement during the three-hour hearing.
“I apologize to AJ’s family. There is nothing I can say that will bring him back,” Love said.
“I will live with this the rest of my life. I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and made a bad choice. I’m not the same kid. I am different. I know I have to do time. I want a chance to make good.”
During testimony, Denise Love said her son was jumped and beaten by a group of boys at Kankakee High School on Jan. 15, 2015. It was his first day there after transferring from St. Anne Community High School. The fight was recorded and uploaded to Facebook
Denise Love testified she filed a report with Kankakee police. Now retired Kankakee police officer Aurelio Garcia was a detective and took the report. He said four juvenile boys were charged with battery and mob action.
Denise Love said there were hundreds of comments, all making fun of her son. It was a reason she said she decided to move her son and four other siblings to Minnesota.
She brought Terrance back to Kankakee in June 2015 until she got settled in her new job and got permanent housing.
Denise Love said she and her children moved back and forth from Chicago to the Kankakee area. A clinical psychologist testified that Terrance Love attended 10 schools between first and seventh grade. He also was truant a lot.
Love’s attorney, Mark A. Battaglia, argued that Elliott should give his client the minimum sentence of 20 years for the murder charge and six for the aggravated discharge of a firearm charge.
“That’s a long, long time to look at things,” Battaglia said.
Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said the case made him physically ill because it involved juveniles.
“The longest sentence won’t bring AJ back. This case cries for more,” Rowe said. “This defendant will be in his mid 50s when he gets out. AJ will live in 13 forever.”