By ELIZABETH CZAPSKI
Homicide Watch Chicago
Wilteeah Jones, known to her family as “Teeah,” was “so excited” about becoming a parent, it was all she talked about, her uncle Donnie Weaver said.
In the last few months of Jones’ life, “every day that’s all you heard, was [about] her being a mom,” Weaver said. “She loved social media, so she put up something every day about counting down to the day that she was going to have her baby.”
At her baby shower, “she was so excited, she was just glowing,” Weaver said.
Jones was pregnant with a girl and already had a name picked out: Maleah Keanna, with “Maleah” made by putting “Malik” and “Teeah” together, Jones’ mother Valerie Weaver said.
Malik was her boyfriend and the baby’s father, Malik K. Bingham.
Then the unthinkable: A shooting Feb. 22 in the South Side Chatham neighborhood claimed the lives of Jones and Bingham, and their unborn child.
“I think they would have been awesome parents,” Valerie Weaver said. “But somebody took that away from them.”
About 8:15 p.m. that evening, officers responded to a shooting in the 7600 block of South Champlain, and found Bingham, 20, at the wheel of a parked car, and Jones on a sidewalk nearby, Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
Bingham, of the Morgan Park neighborhood, was shot in the neck; while the 20-year-old Jones, who was about 8 months pregnant, suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen and side, police and family said. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital, where they were pronounced dead, authorities said.
A police source said the shooting was considered gang-related, and Bingham may have been the intended target.
But Valerie Weaver said Bingham was not in a gang, and Donnie Weaver said if Jones and Bingham had been involved with a gang, he had “no knowledge of it.”
Growing up, Valerie Weaver said, Jones was a kind and outgoing “momma’s girl” who loved shopping, skating and hanging out with friends, of which she had many.
Donnie Weaver described his niece as “responsible,” “intellectual” and “spoiled.”
“She grew up in a great home with her parents and she went to some of the best schools that money could buy,” he said. ”We gave her everything that a kid growing up could ever want.”
Valerie Weaver said Jones and Bingham met at a park and had been together for five years. She said Bingham was a nice, playful, outgoing person who liked to laugh and joke around. “Malik was just a big old Teddy bear,” she said.
She said Bingham and her daughter spent every day together. “They had a love that would never die. They had a special type of love.”
Jones graduated from Ada McKinley High School in 2014, a year early, and had dreams of becoming a nurse, and to that end she took classes at Renee’s School of Careers, her mother said.
Donnie Weaver said after she had the baby, Jones planned to go back to school to finish classes. “She was ambitious at what she wanted to do. If she said she was gonna do something, she wanted to make it happen.”
The night Jones and Bingham were murdered, Valerie Weaver said she could feel that something wasn’t right.
The couple had been at Jones’ grandmother’s house to celebrate her birthday, and they left after everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and cut the cake. No one saw them again, Donnie Weaver said.
It was unusual for Jones to stay out late, her mother said, especially considering how far along in her pregnancy she was.
Valerie Weaver called and texted her daughter multiple times throughout the night, and after getting no responses, drove around looking for her, she said. Eventually, she went to the police station to file a missing persons report, and the police officer told Weaver to call hospitals in the area first.
“They were at the hospital at that time…trying to save the baby, but I never knew,” Weaver said. When calling local hospitals yielded no information, she went back to the police station and was told to wait until the next morning to file a missing persons report.
Weaver then went home and laid down. After about 15 minutes, the police came to her door, she said.
“When they came in…I said, ‘I don’t want to hear anything you got to say, just tell me if she’s living.’ And they told me, ‘I’m sorry, she’s dead.’ And that’s when I snapped out.”
Donnie Weaver said he received a phone call from his sister around 3:30 a.m. Feb. 23. “All I could hear was this loud scream in the background … I could just hear her saying that, ‘they killed my baby, they killed my baby’,” he said.
“My sister just went into a state of panic attack, running up and down the street [and] running in the middle of the street where the cars are coming.” He and his wife, along with other relatives, gathered at his mother’s house early that morning.
He said Jones’ funeral was “beautiful.” Her baby was placed in the casket next to her, which he called “the saddest thing ever.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Donnie Weaver said.
“I was looking forward to being a grandmother. I never got a chance to even meet my granddaughter. I first saw my granddaughter when she was in the casket,” Valerie Weaver said.
She said her daughter’s death is “one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
Jones was “my best friend, my heart, my love, my soul; she was everything,” Valerie Weaver said. “She was one of the reasons I breathe every day. She was my angel.”
Valerie Weaver said she and others in the community have been putting up flyers every day, trying to find out more information about her daughter’s killer.
“Whoever did this is a savage, and I ask you that you please turn yourself in.
“Malik or Teeah did not deserve this, or my granddaughter. All my granddaughter was trying to do was come into the world, and you took that away from her.”
“We are trying to pick up the pieces as best we can, but I mean there’s some devastating things going on in the city of Chicago now, even past my niece’s killing,” Donnie Weaver said. ”The city is coming to a bloodbath.”