Social media, ‘crowd-solving’ credited with catching suspect in Marques Gaines death
Loop North News

MARQUES GAINES 418 N State St - MAP
Photo obtained from Drexina Nelson Social media, ‘crowd-solving’ credited with catching suspect in Marques Gaines death

(Left) This man, suspected of causing the death last year of Marques Gaines, will be brought back to Chicago soon from Minneapolis to face charges.

30-Jan-17 – The arrest of a suspect in the death last year of a popular River North bartender was aided by social media, a Los Angeles crime journalist, and mobile phone video of the incident. The video showed the suspect’s face more clearly than surveillance cameras could at the 7-Eleven at State & Hubbard Streets.

Outside the convenience store on February 7, 2016, just after 4 a.m., Marques Gaines (right), a 32-year-old bartender at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, was struck in the back of the head by a stocky man with a beard who had been arguing with Gaines and a store security guard. Gaines was knocked unconscious into the street and run over accidentally by a taxi. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital but died four hours later of multiple blunt force injuries. Marques Gaines

On January 23, police in Minneapolis caught up with the suspect. He has not yet been formally charged but will be brought to Chicago, most likely this week, according to Marques’ cousin, Drexina Nelson.

Photo by Steven Dahlman “For me, one of the big things is for him to acknowledge that he hurt Marques,” said Nelson (left) on Sunday. “Marques just didn’t deserve that. Marques really was a good guy. You don’t meet too many people who put other people before them like that. He did it to a fault, almost. I used to complain to him all the time, ‘you have to do more for yourself.’ He had a really big heart.”

While looking at 7-Eleven surveillance video, Nelson noticed someone on the sidewalk near the convenience store take out a mobile phone as if to snap a photo or shoot video. With the help of an anonymous tip, the video was located and a frame from it sent to police.

Suspect spotted on Facebook

Nelson says for some time they have known the identity of the suspect – who they believe lives in Chicago – and have seen him active on Facebook.

“We’re very excited about the fact that he’s been captured but it’s bittersweet because at the end of the day it still won’t bring back Marques. I think reality has set in like, ok, this is great but now we’re kind of like, wow, what’s next? Now it’s time for us to work on healing and try to move forward.”

Nelson credits Los Angeles-based crime journalist Billy Jensen, whose website, The Numerous Solutions of Billy Jensen, focuses on “unsolved crimes, citizen detectives, and crowd-solving.” She believes a photo of the suspect on Jensen’s website led to the arrest.

Jensen started by placing ads on Facebook and Twitter that were targeted to a specific audience.

“About a week later in the middle of the night, a Twitter user sent me a straight-on shot of the man who punched Marcus,” recalled Jensen (right). “I sent him a [message] asking, ‘where did you get that?’ He then sent me a video someone had took right after the punch.” Billy Jensen

Armed with a better photo of the suspect, showing a distinctive hairline, Jensen then looked through mugshots.

“After a few thousand pictures, I had a good match. But I needed to confirm so I walked the block and asked people if they recognized the man in the still image from the video. I got confirmation of the name. I packaged everything up and delivered it to the detectives on the case.”

Nelson had praise for Chicago police. “I’m very happy that with all of the unsolved crimes that have been going on in Chicago, we were afraid that this was going to be one of them. The detectives stepped up and really made it happen.”

The taxi driver who accidentally ran over Marques has settled in the lawsuit filed by the family against multiple parties. According to Evan Smola, an attorney with Hurley McKenna & Mertz, the law firm representing the family, they are still suing 7-Eleven, Inc., based in Dallas, and its local franchise, Kala 1341, Inc. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court claims negligence and wrongful death.

 Previous story: Partial settlement in lawsuit over bartender killed outside River North 7-Eleven

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 30-Jan-17 12:15 AM

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