Verdict coming next week in Streator murder case

Verdict coming next week in Streator murder case

LaSalle County Judge H. Chris Ryan says he’ll decide on a verdict next week in the murder case of 22-year-old Ashanti Roberts, of Chicago.

Roberts opted for a bench trial, or trial by judge, where a judge will rule on her innocence or guilt instead of a jury.

Prosecutors finished presenting their case Monday by showing two interviews of Streator Police and Roberts the day after 33-year-old Maria De La Torre was gunned down at her home during an attempted robbery nearly one year ago.

Ashanti Roberts

In the first interview, Roberts claimed that other two co-defendants drugged her and forced her to take them to Streator in her car. In a second interview shortly after, she admitted to knowing them both and agreed to drive them to Streator without knowing they were planning to rob someone.

Last week, prosecutors produced messages from Roberts’ phone between her and 25-year-old co-defendant Hashim Waite, of Chicago, where she agreed to drive them. Waite also testified that Roberts wanted a cut of the proceeds.

Roberts’ public defender says prosecutors failed to prove their case and that Waite only testified against Roberts to avoid a longer prison term.

The third co-defendant, 17-year-old Tamil Adams of Dolton, was convicted by a jury in February for the murder.