Justice of a Sort
- Jason “J. Rock” Austin thought he got away with murder, authorities said.
But six years after prosecutors dropped state charges that he’d gunned down an off-duty Chicago cop and his female friend, the 32-year-old drug dealer was finally held to account Thursday in federal court.
Saying it was “very likely” Austin had killed Det. Robert Soto and social worker Kathryn Romberg on the West Side in 2008, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow sentenced the high ranking Travelling Vice Lord to 35 years in prison.
“You destroyed two innocent lives and deprived their families of their loved ones, deprived children of their parents, friends of their friends,” Lefkow told Austin in front of a courtroom packed with police officers and relatives of Soto and Romberg.
Though they’d had asked for a life sentence, the 35-year term was a triumph for authorities. They in 2008 had failed to convict Austin of the murders after multiple witnesses recanted, but over the course of a week long hearing earlier this month, convinced Lefkow to take the slayings into account when she sentenced Austin for a drug conspiracy.
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