Deonlashawn Simmons, 36, was sentenced Thursday by a Lake County judge in Takaylah Tribitt’s September 2019 killing. The Chicago girl’s body was found facedown with her hands bound behind her with cords.
A jury convicted Simmons of murder in March and he subsequently admitted to firearm and habitual offender enhancements. He has maintained his innocence and said Thursday he would appeal.
Tribbit, who was a runaway, was found in Gary not far from where Simmons’ family lived, according to court documents. Her body was found five days after she and Simmons met at a birthday party in Chicago.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Doug Shaw, who called Tribbit’s death an "execution," asked for the maximum 105 year sentence, saying "that’s all the law allows us." He said the circumstances surrounding Tribitt’s death were some of the cruelest he’s seen.
Tribitt was a "defenseless child," Shaw said.
Simmons’ attorney, Michael A. Campbell, had asked for a 56-year sentence, with five years suspended in favor of probation.