May 15, 2014

Cop shooter gets 70-year prison sentence

The man convicted of shooting East St. Louis Police Officer Michael Baxton Jr. was sentenced to 70 years in prison on Thursday.

Cortez Gillum, 38, was sentenced by St. Clair County Associate Judge Randy Kelly for 30 years on the attempted murder charge, along with a 40-year added enhancement. The jury found Gillum was eligible for the enhancement because he personally caused great bodily harm by discharging the firearm.

"We appreciate the court's strong sentence. Law enforcement work in East St. Louis can be very dangerous even without attacks from extremely violent criminals like this defendant," said State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Prosecutor Steve Sallerson said Gillum shot Baxton in the face with a 9 mm handgun on March 12, 2012, after Baxton confronted Gillum, who was wanted by the police.

Baxton underwent surgery to reconstruct his jaw.

Baxton did not prepare a victim impact statement.

The shooting was caught on surveillance tape at the nearby Orr-Weathers housing project. Gillum also made statements about the shooting.

Gillum was previously convicted of second-degree murder in 1998 in connection with the shooting death of John M. Ganey during a robbery on July 21, 1996. Gillum pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

On the latest case, Gillum could be eligible for release after serving 59 1/2 years.

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