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Man already charged in child’s death pleads not guilty in separate cold case homicide

Devante Randall

Devante Randall

MILWAUKEE — A Franklin man facing charges in connection with the death of a child and the abuse of another pleaded not guilty Thursday, June 6 in a separate case — a cold case homicide that took place in Milwaukee in July 2012. Devante Randall, 26, was charged after his roommate came forward with new information.

Randall faces one count of first degree reckless homicide for the July 17, 2012 shooting death of Javon Whiteside at 69th and Villard. In court on Thursday, Randall waived his preliminary hearing and was bound over for trial. A scheduling conference was set for July 1.

Police on July 17, 2012, around 12:15 a.m. responded to the area near 69th and Fond du Lac Avenue for a shooting. There, they found Javon Whiteside laying in the back seat of a vehicle with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. According to a criminal complaint, Whiteside repeatedly said, “I’m only 18 and I can’t believe I’m going to die!” Whiteside told investigators the shooting happened at 69th and Fond du Lac, and when asked, “Who shot you,” Whiteside responded by saying, “Tay-Tay.” Whiteside was pronounced dead en route to the hospital. An autopsy revealed he’d suffered a gunshot wound, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Investigators recovered a .40 caliber spent casing in a plant at the scene.

Javon Whiteside

Javon Whiteside

According to the complaint, investigators spoke with an individual who was with Whiteside when he was shot. This person indicated on July 16, 2012, the evening before the shooting, Whiteside got a call from someone who wanted to purchase ecstasy pills. The individual said he provided the pills to Whiteside. He said he, Whiteside and a third person drove to 69th and Fond du Lac to meet the person who wanted the pills.

When they arrived, the complaint said they saw an individual dressed in all black, and Whiteside was questioned about him, responding that “everything was cool because the person had a baby with him.” Whiteside further indicated it was someone he’d gone to middle school with. The complaint said this person was holding a blanket as if he had a baby in his arms. The complaint said Whiteside got out and spoke to this individual for a few seconds, before a gunshot was heard. Whiteside jumped back into the vehicle and stated he’d been shot. They soon flagged down police for help.

According to the complaint, based on the information from the witnesses, Whiteside’s pants were pulled from police inventory, and a detective found three baggies in a cut pocket on the inside fly seam of his jeans — containing a total of 60 ecstasy pills.

Investigators also executed a search warrant for subscriber information and content information for the phone number Whiteside was communicating with before his death. The complaint said investigators called a number connected to this number, and learned Whiteside had been communicating with Devante Randall.

Javon Whiteside shot and killed in July 2012

Javon Whiteside shot and killed in July 2012

Randall was questioned in October 2012, and confirmed he went to middle school with Whiteside. He also confirmed he had the nickname “Tay” and that he’d used ecstasy frequently since he was 17. However, he denied involvement in Whiteside’s death.

On May 21, 2019, a witness came forward and confirmed Randall’s nickname is “Tay-Tay.” This witness said at the time of the homicide, the witness lived with Randall near 69th and Fond du lac, and on July 16, 2012, Randall called Whiteside to purchase ecstasy. When Randall returned to the home, he claimed Whiteside never showed up. The roommate said Randall “was acting very nervous.” The roommate admitted he owned a large .40 caliber Glock.

The roommate said approximately two months after the homicide, Randall and the roommate returned to the home near 69th and Fond du Lac after police executed a search warrant. The roommate said Randall went into the basement and came back up with the roommate’s Glock, stating this was the gun “I killed dude with.”

Devante Randall

Devante Randall

The complaint said Randall told the roommate he intended to rob Whiteside because he “needed money.” He instructed Whiteside to meet him at a boarded up home near his home — telling Whiteside he would have a baby with him. He said he put a doll in a blanket to make it look like he was holding a baby, and when Whiteside approached, he attempted to rob Whiteside, but Whiteside ran. The roommate said Randall indicated he dropped the doll, chased Whiteside and shot him once, before fleeing the scene and returning home.

Whiteside’s family issued this statement to FOX6 News:

“It’s been a long time coming! After 7 years, we finally getting the justice we deserve. We know this won’t bring him back, but we can finally smile knowing that Javon wasn’t forgotten about and our backs wasn’t let down! It’s been so much pain and stress as these years just fly by without him! What’s done in the dark will come to the light. We thank the D.A for all of they work and our family can finally say we have justice for Javon Quezaire Whiteside.”

Randall in April 2019 was charged with first degree reckless homicide, neglecting a child (consequence is death), child abuse (intentionally causing harm) and neglecting a child (consequence is bodily harm).

According to the criminal complaint, a Milwaukee police officer was dispatched to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin around 8:45 p.m. on April 22 to investigate a child abuse complaint. The officer was advised a 6-month-old boy was admitted to the pediatric ICU — suffering from bleeding on the brain and a skull fracture. Officials indicated the child’s injuries were “severe and life-threatening.”

The child’s mother told officials she had left her two children, including the infant, in the care of Randall that day while she worked. The complaint indicated starting shortly before 6 p.m., Randall sent the mother a series of text messages trying to get her attention about the children. She was not replying, so Randall drove to the mother’s workplace. When the mother came out, she “observed (the infant) lifeless and not breathing.” Randall claimed “he was visiting family near 40th and Hampton when he heard gunshots. He attempted to run away while holding (the infant) and (the 2-year-old),  but fell.” The complaint indicated Randall and the mother got into the car and drove to Children’s Hospital.”

When they got to the hospital, the complaint said the mother “believed Randall was going to park the car, come inside…and tell hospital staff exactly what happened.” But Randall never came inside.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

After a thorough exam of the infant, hospital officials determined the child had significant injuries. Officials noted this “type of force can be seen when a child is violently shaken, slammed, and/or thrown.” The child was unresponsive and put on a ventilator — and died shortly after midnight on April 25.

Prior to going to the mother’s workplace on April 22, Randall had apparently met up with the mother’s father — and left him with the 2-year-old child. The father “observed (the 2-year-old) to have significant bruising and scrapes to the face.” He took the child to Children’s Hospital. Officials there determined the child had two broken legs in addition to the bruising and scrapes. They indicated the “injuries are diagnostic for child physical abuse.”

A plea hearing was scheduled for July 1 in that case.

In January 2019, Randall was charged with child abuse (intentionally causing harm), criminal damage to property (domestic abuse assessments) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse assessments). He has a plea hearing in that case set for July 1 as well.

Online court records showed convictions for disorderly conduct (domestic abuse assessments, habitual criminality repeater) in a 2015 case, knowingly violating a domestic abuse order — injunction in a 2015 case and maintaining a drug trafficking place, as party to a crime in 2012.

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