Man Pardoned by Obama, Murders One, Shoots at Two Others

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Pardoned by Barack Obama in 2015 and relieved of a life sentence, Alton Mills is now facing attempted murder charges and a possible murder charge. Until now, he was held up as an example of a reformed criminal who deserves another chance at freedom.

Alton Mills
THE PARDON

In 1994, Alton Mills was given a life sentence for trafficking cocaine under the three-strike law. It was his third felony conviction. Mr. Obama considers drug trafficking a non-violent crime.

After receiving amnesty, Mills spoke to the U.S. Senate as part of a criminal justice forum while campaigning to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., spoke on the Senate floor next to a giant image of Mills, calling him “an overlooked casualty in our ‘war on drugs.’”

Dick Durbin became his champion, calling for his release.

“An overlooked casualty in our ‘war on drugs’ are the men and women who have been convicted under disproportionately harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws,” Durbin said at the time. “One such man is Alton Mills, who served more than two decades of a mandatory life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, a punishment even the sentencing judge disagreed with. I commend Alton for the bravery he has shown in choosing to tell his story, and I am honored to welcome him to Washington this week.”

THE KILLING

In the early hours of last Sunday morning, Alton Mills allegedly opened fire on a car containing three friends who had just left a nightclub in south suburban Chicago, according to Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Morrissey.

He’s facing three counts of attempted murder after shooting one woman in the head. One charge will likely be changed to murder since the woman who was shot died.

At Mills’ bail hearing on Monday, Morrissey said a car pulled up behind the ex-convict’s SUV at a red light. As the SUV failed to move when the light turned green, the car drove around Mills without honking the horn or making any loud noise. Mills then allegedly chased after the car, pulling alongside it and firing several shots from the driver’s window.

A woman sleeping in the back was shot in the head and was brain dead. The woman, 39-year-old Linda Chattman of Chicago, has died.

Police tracked Mills through license data and matching bullets in his home. He tested positive for gun residue and “made admissions” to the shooting. The front passenger also took a blurry picture of the gunman’s license plate and recorded a video where she read the license plate number aloud.


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