27-year-old Wesley Woodson, convicted in 2017 of the 2012 murder in Evanston of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman, was sentenced Thursday to 71 years on prison for the crime.

Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Woodson and had called witnesses at the sentencing hearing who testified he’d been committing violent acts since his days as a student at Evanston Township High School.

Judge Lauren Edidin called the crime “an act of a coward” as she imposed the sentence at Skokie district court.

Police said the shooting happened after Woodson heard that his cousin had been assaulted at a party. He left his home, grabbed a gun and fired on a group of young people walking home from the party down Church Street near Florence Avenue.

Dajae Coleman.

Coleman, an Evanston Township High School freshman basketball player, who hadn’t been involved in the assault, was shot once in the back and died at the scene.

Related stories

Guilty verdict in murder of 14-year-old (9/15/17)

Man charged with mrder in death of 14-year-old (9/28/12)

Murder a case of mistaken identity (9/28/12)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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