Crack dealer whose life sentence was commuted by Obama now charged with attempted murder

May 21, 2023
Ben Marquis

An Illinois man who previously had a life sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama is now being held in jail on three counts of attempted murder, Breitbart reported.

Alton Mills, 54, a former crack cocaine dealer who received clemency from Obama in 2015, is accused of shooting at another vehicle on an expressway and causing severe injuries to one of that vehicle's occupants.

Charged with attempted murder

According to a Wednesday press release from the Illinois State Police, Alton D. Mills, 54, of Evergreen Park was arrested and charged with the felony counts of attempted murder following an investigation of a shooting incident three days earlier on Sunday, May 14.

That incident occurred on an entrance ramp to Interstate 57 near the Chicago-area village of Posen and involved "multiple shots" being fired from the suspect vehicle toward the victim vehicle, striking both that vehicle and a passenger in the back seat, who was rushed to a nearby hospital with "life-threatening injuries."

The release noted that after investigators determined that Mills was the suspect in that shooting incident, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office agreed to pursue three counts of attempted murder and Mills was then arrested and was being detained with no bond at the Cook County jail.

Sentenced to life for crack cocaine distribution conspiracy

The New York Post reported that Mills was now back behind bars after having previously benefited from an act of clemency by former President Obama, who commuted the remainder of a life sentence that Mills had been ordered to serve.

Per a Justice Department release in December 2015, Mills was one of 95 individuals who had a prison sentence commuted by Obama.

He had been sentenced in 1994 to serve a life sentence following a conviction for a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy and, thanks to Obama's clemency, was slated to be released by December 2016 after serving just 22 years of that life sentence.

Virtually all of the others who had their sentences commuted at that time had been convicted of various drug crimes, though a few of them were also convicted of gun crimes and at least one recipient of Obama's clemency had been an armed robber.

Granted a second chance opportunity by Obama

According to the Post, Mills had received a life sentence without the possibility of parole due to the fact that he had already been twice convicted for possession of crack cocaine, which brought into play a sentencing enhancement for federal prosecutors.

The outlet further noted that at the time the commutations were granted to the 95 "non-violent" convicted criminals Obama had said that they had been "sentenced at the height of the war on drugs and would likely receive substantially lower sentences today" if convicted and sentenced for the same crimes.

It was also highlighted by the Post how Mills had been championed by certain Democratic politicians, including Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as an example of the need to reform drug sentencing guidelines and to give second chance opportunities to individuals who'd ruined their lives with stupid mistakes when they were younger.

It would appear, however, that the second chance granted to Mills through Obama's clemency has now been wasted and it will be interesting to see if he will have to return to prison to serve out the remainder of the prior life sentence that had been commuted.

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