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Crime & Courts

Adams found guilty of Streator murder

Sentencing set April 4

A jury took about four hours Thursday to find Tamil Adams guilty of murdering Maria De la Torre last year in Streator.

Adams, 17, of Dolton, was found guilty of shooting to death the 33-year-old De la Torre on May 22, outside her home. Adams is to be sentenced Thursday, April 4. As soon as the guilty verdict was announced Adams' family and supporters expressed anger, with one woman letting out a wail, before they rushed from the courtroom. Adams showed no reaction.

According to testimony and evidence, Adams and Hashim Waite drove from Chicago to Streator to rob De la Torre's teenaged son of marijuana and money. During the course of the attempted robbery, De la Torre came home and was shot twice in her driveway, as the robbers were fleeing. Adams and Waite jumped in their car and left. They were later caught, after a police chase, in Dwight.

Adams also shot and wounded the De la Torre family's pit bull.

Ashanti Roberts, 22, Chicago, accompanied the pair from Chicago to Streator, but stayed in the car during the shooting. She was also arrested in Dwight and is charged with murder. Her next court hearing is Thursday, Feb. 14.

Waite testified against Adams, saying it was Adams' idea to commit the robbery, having robbed De la Torre's son about one month before, when Adams was living in Streator. Waite also said Adams pulled the trigger on De la Torre. Waite, 25, made a deal to serve about 15 years in prison, in exchange for his testimony.

Adams was 16 at the time of the murder, but was prosecuted as an adult. He faces a minimum 20-year prison term.

The jury was chosen Monday, with testimony beginning Tuesday morning. Adams did not testify or put on a defense. However, according to court papers, Adams told police after his arrest, he was not at the De la Torre home at the time of the slaying, but at his aunt's home in Streator. Adams said Waite and Roberts picked him up after the murder and he fell asleep in the car, waking during the police chase.

The case was prosecuted by Greg Sticka and Matt Kidder, with Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. presiding. Adams is defended by Chicago lawyers Paul Meyers and Jeffrey Marx.

At the trial's end, Sticka told jurors a woman died, because of Adams and Waite "doing their stupid little lick, for a little weed and a little cash." During Waite's testimony, he said he and Adams came to Streator to "hit a lick," which is slang for criminally obtaining money.

The Streator Police Department issued a statement following the trial thanking the La Salle County State's Attorney, La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, Dwight Police Department, Illinois Search and Rescue Council, also stating they hope the verdict assists the family of Maria De La Torre in finding closure.

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