2:14 PM EST, November 14, 2013
A Cook County judge has sentenced a man to 50 years in prison in the 2009 road rage shooting death of a Burbank man, according to prosecutors and court records.
Mikel Pernell, 34, was found guilty in September of killing George Cruz, 30, on Sept. 18, 2009, after Cruz accidentally cut him off in traffic near 105th Street and Hoxie Avenue, and was sentenced Wednesday by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Carol Howard, prosecutors said in a release.
A warrant was issued for his arrest two months after the slaying, and Pernell was arrested a day later on the street in the 6400 block of South Seeley Avenue, police said at the time.
Cruz was headed north on Torrence Avenue when he changed lanes to turn left onto 105 th Street, accidentally cutting off Pernell about 11 a.m. Sept. 18, 2009, prosecutors said.
Pernell drove up next to the passenger side of Cruz’s car, while yelling at him. Cruz apologized and told Pernell about trying to turn onto 105 th Street, and Pernell then drove off and parked at 105th and Hoxie, prosecutors said.
Cruz drove up and stopped near Pernell, who then pointed a gun out his car window and shot Cruz through his windshield, hitting him in the left eye, authorities said.
Cruz was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital, where was pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m. that morning.
Pernell, who at the time of his arrested face an unrelated a felony unlawful use of a weapon charge, sued the Chicago Police Department in federal court in 2003, alleging police coerced a confession to a double homicide in 2000.
Charges in the double homicide had been dropped after a criminal court judge threw out Pernell's videotaped statement to Wentworth Area detectives in the slayings of Valerie Davis and James Jones.
The civil suit was dismissed after the city settled the case in 2005, according to court records.
Although Pernell has been charged in almost a dozen criminal cases in Cook County dating back to 2000, court records indicated at the time of his arrest that he had never been convicted. This year he has had charges of violation of an order of protection and theft dropped against him.
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