Randy McCallum Jr., convicted in February of a double murder, appeared in court shackled at the waist and feet and flanked by two state prison guards Thursday afternoon to challenge his sentence: two natural life terms in prison.
St. Clair County Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf denied a motion by public defender Rick Roustio to drop the consecutive life terms in favor of a single life sentence. The judge let his previous sentencing decision stand.
In Illinois, a defendant sentenced to natural life for first-degree murder cannot be paroled, making it impossible to serve out two consecutive natural life sentences.
Roustio contended, however, that state law prohibits a defendant convicted of first-degree murder of being sentenced to a greater term than natural life for “a single course of conduct.” He asked that a single life sentence be imposed instead.
“We are not arguing reality here, we are arguing principle,” Roustio said.
Rudolf noted that while he disagreed with Roustio’s interpretation of state law, he commended the lawyer for his zealous representation of the 26-year-old McCallum Jr.
Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Phillips argued that the murders of the two men did not constitute a single course of action, and stated that the double life terms were appropriate.
McCallum Jr., the son of former Alorton Mayor Randy McCallum, was sentenced in April for the 2009 killings of Charles Black and Kevin McVay Jr. McVay’s father, Kevin McVay Sr., and mother Barbara Williams attended the brief hearing Thursday.
“Nothing changes,” said McVay Sr. said afterward. When asked about the impossibility of McCallum Jr. serving his maximum sentence, McVay replied, “Let him serve the first and then bring him back to life and let him serve the other life sentence.”
The trial in April was the second for McCallum Jr. in connection with the killings of the two men in Washington Park. His first trial ended in a mistrial in 2013 after one juror could not agree to a guilty verdict.
McCallum did not take the stand in his defense at the trial, but jurors twice heard a recorded conversation he had with his stepmother.
McCallum called Gwendolyn McCallum in 2013 while sitting in the St. Clair County Jail during his first trial. The call was recorded.
“I did what I had to do in my self-defense,” McCallum Jr., told his stepmother. “I am a thug. I did what I had to do.”
At the sentencing in April, Rudolf told McCallum Jr. “it’s necessary to protect the public from you.”
In August, three men including McCallum Jr. were charged with obstruction of justice in connection with a scheme where another man, who was serving a lengthy sentence for attempted murder, agreed to falsely plead guilty in return for money to killing Black and McVay Jr. The man, Anthony T. Moore, Jr., was not incarcerated at the time of the double murder. Moore is set for parole in 2041.
McCallum Jr. is being held at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester. Under “projected discharge date” on the prison’s website, “ineligible” is written.