CHICAGO (CBS) – The man charged with the murder of 7-year-old Serenity Broughton and the attempted murder of her 6-year-old sister Aubrey was held on Thursday without bail.
During a hearing for 24-year-old Aireon Luster, Cook County prosecutors revealed testimony and cell phone recordings that helped police resolve the case a month after prosecutors refused to indict him.
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Luster was originally taken into custody in September, but prosecutors said they could not indict him for lack of evidence.
He is charged with being one of two armed men who shot Serenity and wounded her sister Aubrey on August 15.
Prosecutors said the riflemen targeted the girls’ uncle over a gang fight.
Luster was on parole at the time of the shooting. It was the second time he has been released from prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery in 2016 and 2019.
Serenity and Aubrey were shot dead in the 6200 block of West Grand Avenue in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on Sunday, August 15.
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Chicago Police Chief Brendan Deenihan said the girls and their parents were visiting a relative at the time, and their mother and father took them to the back seat of their car when three people in another vehicle drove into a nearby alley, and two of them got out and started shooting the family car.
Then the shooters got back into their vehicle and fled from the crime scene.
Police said they believed the riflemen were targeting a relative who lived in the house.
Serenity was shot in the chest and torso and pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. Aubrey was shot in the chest and right armpit, has a perforated lung and was treated in Loyola. McDermott said the girls’ mother put them in the back seat of the car when the gunshots rang out.
The girls’ paternal grandmother, Regina Broughton, told reporters that her son – the girl’s father – was in the driver’s side of the car while her mother Aubrey had just buckled up. At that point, the gunshots rang out and Serenity was lifeless, Broughton said days after the shooting.
“The monster that did this to my granddaughter – I want her to be caught,” she said. “It could have been my whole family because they were all in the car together.”
Meanwhile, Deenihan said police are asking the public for help in finding a second shooter and the getaway driver who was involved in the shooting. Investigators have yet to identify the two suspects.
“We believe the public knows these two people who are likely associated with and part of Luster,” Deenihan said. “We are hopefully sure that these guys have spoken to someone, bragged about it, and someone knows.”
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Deenihan admitted that potential witnesses may be afraid to come forward, saying police can provide tips anonymously online at CPDTip.com