KENTLAND — Just moments after the start of a sentencing hearing (Feb. 21), Ten Oaks shooting suspect Demiah L. Wright, 36 of Kankakee, withdrew his guilty plea as part of a negotiated deal.
Wright told the court that he wasn’t comfortable with the agreement that he agreed to just two days before (Feb. 19).
As part of that deal, Wright agreed to plead guilty to aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony, in exchange for the charges of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and criminal recklessness would be dismissed. Also part of the deal, Wright would admit to being a habitual offender because of his two prior felony convictions which would enhance his sentence. The deal would have carried a sentencing range of 15-19 years in prison.
While Wright’s plea withdrawal was accepted, he had already waived his right to a jury trial, so a bench trial was set up for March 4 at 10:00 a.m. in Newton County Superior Court.
Wright, 36, was arrested by Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department on a Newton County warrant in July 2019. He was the third person charged for the Nov. 11, 2018, shooting of a man at Ten Oaks Mobile Home Park in Lincoln Township, located just west of Roselawn.
The victim, Jeffery Fraze Jr., was shot in the head while he was driving and crashed into a home. Fraze Jr. survived the shooting but is still struggling with mobility issues.
Before Wright withdrew his plea, Fraze Jr. was able to speak in court about the sentence he felt Wright should receive.
“I was sitting at the end of a cul de sac when a car pulled up and three guys got out,” said Fraze Jr. “I went to drive away and they started shooting at me. I was shot in the back of the head. I got a life sentence that night by his (Wright’s) hand. I got life, he should get life too. I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life. He was the judge, the jury and executioner that night.”
Detective Mike Rowe also testified to the physical evidence of the case stating that 11 cartridge casings were recovered at the scene and after ballistic testing, the results showed that they were all fired from the same weapon.”
All charges against Wright including attempted murder have been reinstated and he now faces 26 to 60 years in prison if convicted.