Local Police Reports

Prosecutors Secure Natural Life Sentence In 2011 Murder In South Suburbs

Cook County, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A man who went on a one-month violent crime spree in southern Cook County and neighboring communities has been sentenced to natural life in prison for the shooting murder of a Kentucky man during a robbery in a south suburban hotel room last April, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Lawrence Coffee, 28 entered a plea of guilty to the charges of First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery in connection with the shooting death of Regan Lytle, 55, of Kentucky. The plea was entered late Monday during a court hearing at the Cook County Circuit Courthouse in Markham where Judge Luciano Panici sentenced Coffee to natural life in prison.

According to prosecutors, Coffee and a co-defendant approached Lytle’s hotel room during the evening hours of April 17, 2011, at the Days Inn Hotel in Lansing under the pretense of returning a telephone book that they had borrowed earlier. Coffee then forced his way into the victim’s room at gunpoint and demanded his cell phone, cash and car keys. The victim complied, but Coffee still shot him in the abdomen for not moving fast enough. Lytle was hospitalized for weeks after the shooting but died as a result of the injuries on May 8, 2011.

According to prosecutors, after that shooting Coffee went on a one-month crime spree, shooting at a 14-year-old boy in Gary, Indiana; pistol-whipping an elderly man in Chicago, and shooting a woman on a break from work at a gas station during a carjacking in Minooka, Illinois. Coffee was recently sentenced to 105 years in Grundy County, Illinois, for the shooting and carjacking in Minooka. 

Coffee’s co-defendant in the Lansing murder, Lavashia Connor, has also been charged with First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery. Her case is currently pending before Judge Panici with the next court date scheduled for Oct. 19.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s attorneys Theodore Lagerwall and Donald Lyman of the Special Prosecutions Gang Crimes Unit for their handling of the case.