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Arlis Gordon pleads not guilty for his role in the shooting death of Laylah Petersen

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MILWAUKEE -- Arlis Gordon, one of three suspects charged in the murder of five-year-old Laylah Petersen, entered a plea of not guilty Thursday, November 5th after a judge ruled there was enough evidence for a trial.

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

24-year-old Paul Farr and 20-year-old Carl Barrett, the two other men charged in the case previously pleaded not guilty.

Farr has been charged with two counts of harboring/aiding a felon. He is the accused getaway driver in this case.

Barrett and Gordon have both been charged with first degree reckless homicide -- as party to a crime.

Laylah Petersen would have turned six years old on September 23rd. But her young life was cut short when she was shot while she was sitting on her grandfather's lap inside a home near 58th and Fairmount on November 6, 2014.

Laylah Petersen

Laylah Petersen

Petersen died at the hospital, as a result of two gunshot wounds to her head. Her death was ruled a homicide.

That complaint says Arlis Gordon was in court on November 6th, 2014 as a jury was deliberating in a homicide case. The complaint indicates Gordon was the homicide victim's "brother."

The complaint says during a break in the court proceedings, Gordon contacted a man and asked him to lend Gordon a firearm. Then, Gordon -- accompanied by Barrett, met the man at Farr's home, and the man gave Gordon a firearm.


According to the complaint, the firearm was a "unique looking 9mm semi-automatic handgun, green in color, with a camouflage pattern on it."

Late on the afternoon of November 6th, 2014, the jury deliberating in the homicide case acquitted the man facing charges -- issuing a not guilty verdict.

Police say following the verdict, a man reported he ran into Gordon near Sherman and Villard -- and said Gordon was "very upset," and intoxicated. That man indicated Gordon was talking about his brother's killer, and that he stated: "He killed my brother and he's getting out! This can't be going on. I'm gonna do something about it."

The complaint says around dusk on November 6th, Gordon called Farr and told them "they could come get the gun." Shortly thereafter, Farr, Barrett and another man (22-year-old Divonte Forbes, who is NOT charged in this case) got into Farr's vehicle and drove to a location where Gordon's family was gathering after the jury's verdict was heard.

Eventually, Gordon got into Farr's vehicle -- and the four men drove towards a location referred to as "Baby Girl's house."

At one point during this ride, the complaint indicates Gordon asked that the vehicle stop, because he had to pick something up. Cell phone records showed at this point in time, Farr's phone was located very close to the scene of the homicide of Laylah Petersen (58th and Fairmount.)

Laylah Petersen shot and killed near 58th and Fairmount

Laylah Petersen shot and killed near 58th and Fairmount

"He didn't have no knowledge of them going. They said 'stop -- we gotta go do something or grab something or get something.' These are his friends," Farr's stepmother, Sandra Townsend said in court.

Within seconds, Barrett and Gordon got back into the vehicle -- and Farr drove away.

The court commissioner agreed with Farr's family, partially.

"There's evidence that suggests he didn`t know what was going on," a detective said in court.

But when the men arrived at "Baby Girl's house" on 42nd Street, the complaint indicates two firearms were placed on a table, and Barrett and Gordon began talking about the shooting, with Gordon telling the group: "I emptied the whole clip! We lit the whole (expletive) up!"

Scene at 58th and Fairmount, where Laylah Petersen was shot

Scene at 58th and Fairmount, where Laylah Petersen was shot

"They go back to his house laughing, giggling, smoking, talking about what happened. At that point, it's clear he knew what was going on. At that point, it could be argued plausibly that he was aiding and harboring a felon," the court commissioner said.

The complaint indicates the fourth man who was with Gordon, Barrett and Farr on November 6th (22-year-old Divonte Forbes, who is NOT charged in this case) told investigators he encountered Barrett in jail -- and Barrett told the man that "they meant to hit the house of Gordon's brother's killer, or the house where his baby's mama stays, but that they shot into the wrong house." Police say Gordon asked that the man "keep his mouth shut."

The home of Gordon's brother's killer's girlfriend is four blocks from the scene of the homicide (at 54th and Fairmount), according to police.

Suspect vehicle in shooting of Laylah Petersen

Suspect vehicle in shooting of Laylah Petersen

Prosecutors say Divonte Forbes used the weapon that was used to kill Petersen in his own shooting spree that very same day (November 6th). He's facing 13 felony charges for a series of shootings he described as a "killing spree" aimed at relatives of a man Forbes had a feud with.

Prosecutors say Forbes is the man who gave the weapon to Gordon in this case.

Forbes was sitting in the backseat of the vehicle the man arrived in at 58th and Fairmount when Laylah Petersen was shot.

Again -- he is not charged in connection with Laylah Petersen's death. Prosecutors say he was a key witness in this case, however.

Gordon, Barrett and Farr will next be in court on November 16th.

Laylah Petersen

Laylah Petersen

1 Comment

  • phd

    Suppose you are in an ideal position to raise a flourishing child. You are well-educated, financially secure, have plenty of social support, and so on. (I do not mean to imply that lacking any of these advantages will necessarily prevent a child from flourishing – just that these are advantages, in that they improve the odds that a child will flourish.) Further, suppose that you have a loving disposition, and would certainly care deeply and well for any child you might have. Yet, as it happens, you are ambivalent about the prospect of having children, since you have many other interests and life projects you value, which would be curtailed (at least to some extent) were you to have children.

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