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Chicago-area man with life sentence commuted by Obama now charged with attempted murder

Mills is being held without bond in the Cook County Jail on three attempted murder charges, officials said.

Published: May 21, 2023 12:08pm

A Chicago-area man whose life prison sentence for distributing crack was commuted by then-President Barack Obama is now being held without bond on attempted murder charges. 

Illinois State Police said Alton Mills, 54, was arrested last week and charged with three attempted murder counts. The arrest is related to an expressway shooting in Posen, Illinois, where multiple shots were fired from a suspect vehicle, officials said.

"The back-seat passenger in the victim vehicle was struck by gun fire and was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries," state police said

Mills, of Evergreen Park, Illinois, is being held without bond in the Cook County Jail, records show. 

Obama granted Mills clemency seven years ago. He was charged with multiple counts related to cocaine dealing and sentenced to life in prison in 1994. Obama commuted his sentence in 2015 to expire the following year.

After he was released, some top Senate Democrats praised Mills as an example of a reformed criminal. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) posted a photo of her with Mills on Facebook in 2016 with the caption reading in part: " Alton’s story reminds me: It’s not justice when someone who needs help can go away for life for selling crack on the street, but a bank executive who launders hundreds of millions of dollars for drug cartels can pay a fine and sleep in his own bed at night. ... We need to straighten out the criminal justice system and reform drug enforcement practices that do nothing but destroy lives and communities."

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in 2018 said in a congressional speech that after his release, Mills became a Chicago Transit Authority mechanic, got married and started pursuing his associate's degree. "If he hadn't received a pardon, Alton Mills was destined to die in prison," Durbin said at the time.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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