The Washington Syndicate

True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer

Posted in Uncategorized by jmullerwashingtonsyndicate on January 21, 2011

Published in the February edition of Suspense Magazine.

By: John Muller

Wash Syndicate

At 10:30 in the morning on Sunday, August 28, 1994 eleven year old Robert Sandifer, nicknamed “Yummy” for his love of cookies, left his house at 219 West 107th Place in the Roseland neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. He said he was off to a gas station at 111th & State Street, more than a half mile away, where local children pumped self-serve gas for customers to earn tips before station workers would chase them away.

At first glance, Yummy’s bedroom resembled most other Chicago children of his age. Posters of Michael Jordan and Disney characters were tacked to the walls and ceiling. However, a closer look revealed a boy whose childhood innocence had long since vanished; gang insignia was scrawled above the door, gang logos were scribbled on the woodwork.

Away from his house “playing all day,” according to his grandmother, Yummy, standing 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 86 pounds, approached a group of boys standing at 10758 South Perry Avenue near the corner of West 108th Street around 6:30pm.

Yummy, a tattooed member of the Black Disciples gang, approached 16 year old Kianta Britten, asking him what gang he was affiliated with; the Black Disciples were warring with the Gangster Disciples, another powerful Chicago street gang.

When Britten said he wasn’t in a gang, Yummy, a member of the Black Disciples set called the “8 balls,” pulled out a 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol at nearly point-blank range. Britten ran. Yummy opened fire, striking Britten in the stomach with one bullet and striking his spinal cord with another. Britten would spend the next several months in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics, unable to walk for eight months.

Brazenfaced in his daylight attack, the eyes of the street watching him, the diminutive Yummy quickly scurried off.

Arriving on the scene, Chicago police Officer William Callahan knelt over the young victim, “Who shot you?”

“Yummy shot me,” Britten responded. “I think his name is Robert.” He would later say, “I knew it was Yummy. I saw his face before he shot me.”

As soon as Callahan supplied Sandifer’s name as the probable suspect, other detectives were en route to their offices to look for a recent photo of Yummy when they received word there had been another shooting around the corner on 108th Street.

After walking her girlfriend Chi Chi home about 100 yards from her front door in the 200 block of West 108th Street, Shavon Latrice Dean, excited about her upcoming freshmen orientation at Corliss High School, walked past a group of six children playing football on the street at 108th and Wentworth.

At 8:30 pm, as the sun was setting, Yummy re-emerged bucking his 9 millimeter.

Unloading his gun wildly into the crowd, he struck the rear door of a van parked on the street while another stray round smashed through a living room window.

Sammy Seay, 16, had just caught a pass when he suddenly dropped the ball at the eruption of gunfire. Falling to the pavement he saw sparks from bullets hitting the street. He was grazed in the leg while another bullet pierced his left hand. “I hit the ground,” Seay said. “It was the second or third shot before I knew I had been shot. So I got up and I just ran, trying to save my life.”

After others at the scene identified Yummy as Seay’s attacker, Seay reluctantly admitted that Yummy shot him.
Shavon, 14, a next door neighbor of Yummy, was struck in the head. She was 30 feet from her front door. Less than an hour later she died at Roseland Community Hospital. “She was lying on the ground,” Delia Gildart, 15, Shavon’s cousin said. “It was a shock to see her lying there.” “He probably didn’t mean to hurt her,” Delia told to a newspaper reporter. “He was just shooting.”

“It’s just really terrible, but the Bible says all these things will happen,” said Ann Jones, Shavon’s grandmother.

As Yummy fled the second shooting scene he was seen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word, “Boss.”

Wash Syndicate

By the fall of 1994, fatalism began to afflict the spirit of the city of Chicago where the murder of a child was becoming a shared experience.

On January 3, 1993, The Chicago Tribune ran a headline, “Killing Our children” that read, “In 1992, 57 children age 14 or under were murdered in the Chicago area, felled by snipers, sacrificed by gangs, killed by parents. It was a year for burying the young.” An editorial in the same day’s paper with the headline “A record written in blood” detailed the death of 14 year old Alvin Gilmore, the 57th child murder, from a stray bullet.

As bad as 1992 was, and 1993 would be, 1994 saw the intensity and ferociousness of the city’s violence reach new extremes.

The Tribune reported in late June, 1994 “more than 40 gang members battled Saturday afternoon in a gunfight that one police officer compared to the shootout at the OK Corral” on East 100th Street. Caught in the crossfire was 14 year old Derrick Henderson, graduating from the 8th grade the day before. His death marked the 30th of a child 14 or younger in the Chicago area by that time in 1994, 11 being shot dead in daylight.

Pre-teen and early teen triggermen were not unprecedented in Chicago, but they were becoming more frequent throughout the 1990’s. From 1984 to 1990, Chicago police attributed only four gun homicides to children under the age of 14, all of them being 13 years old.

In the four and a half years from 1990 until the time of Sandifer in the fall of 1994, 34 children, 13 and younger, used firearms in the commission of a homicide in Chicago. The rate accelerated from six in 1991, seven in 1992, to a total of eleven in 1993. Four of the 34 children were twelve, and two were eleven. At the time, Yummy, a murder suspect, was the third known case of an eleven year old using a gun to commit murder in the city in the last decade of the 20th century.

“In the past three years, there were 26 homicide offenders 13 years of age or under, compared to only four in the previous seven years,” Police Superintendent Matt Rodriguez said in early 1994, foreshadowing the violence that would befall the city that year.

By midnight, now in the early hours of August 29, the Chicago Police, working with FBI agents already in the area investigating gang narcotic activities, began a frantic search for Yummy. “They were 20 to 30 officers involved,” Detective Cornelius Spencer said in court testimony nearly two years later.

Yummy was not unknown to Chicago police; he had an arrest record dating back to January of 1992, when he was 8. Arrested for residential burglary, auto theft, armed robbery, and shoplifting, Yummy’s record was mined by police searching for names of past accomplices to question his whereabouts.

Not finding Yummy at his home, detectives followed up on relatives’ known addresses and tips that he had been spotted in Riverdale, Harvey, and Dixmor, Yummy was not found on Monday, August, 29. He remained on the run.

“He may not even be aware of the gravity of what he did,” said Sgt. Ronald Palmer. “In this ongoing cycle of gang violence, he might be getting orders from someone higher up in the gang. The word on the street is this may be a gang initiation.”

“On Tuesday, two days after a South Side killing, police moved beyond the Chicago area in their search for the boy, in what amounts to a search for a 6th grader,” read a story in The Tribune. “I have an extraordinary amount of manpower helping on this,” said Commander Earl Nevels. “An 11-year old couldn’t very well hide and elude police if he didn’t have help.”

Dozens of police officers — tactical units, gang crimes officers and detectives –joined by members of the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force fanned out searching for the boy as far away as Milwaukee, nearly two hours away, where Yummy had a relative, Nevels told The Chicago Sun-Times. The case was discussed at roll calls at every police district in the city.

Aware that Yummy was a “shorty,” the youngest member in the hierarchy of the Black Disciples street gang, police began looking for him in places where members of the Black Disciples were known to live and hang out. One such place was 118 West 108th Place where the police went repeatedly without any success, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, August, 31 The Tribune ran a front page story with the headline “Killing suspect, 11, piled up toys, criminal charges” that, without giving his name, detailed Yummy’s height, weight, previous contact with the criminal justice system, and abusive home life. One story under the headline of “DCFS says suspect scarred early” referred to an 11-year-oldSouth Side boy knownas ‘Yummy’.” 

“If authorities’ suspicions are born out, the boy could prove to be a classic case of a victim-turned-victimizer, all compressed into a hard 11-year life,” the story read.

After receiving three calls earlier in the week from someone who hung up without saying anything, Janie Fields, Yummy’s grandmother, bought a caller-identification device. Late Wednesday afternoon, Yummy called from a payphone.

“What is the police looking for me for?” he asked his grandmother. “You ain’t done nothing wrong, just let me come and get you,” she responded. The phone went dead.

Already prepared with clean clothes, as she had been conducting her own search for him throughout the community in her van, she rushed to 95th Street where he said he would be. When Fields got there he was gone. She would wait for hours until 10pm. Yummy never appeared.

Around 7pm, Cragg Hardaway, 16, and Derrick Hardaway, 14, both members of a Black Disciples set, stopped by Shanta McGlown’s house. Shanta was Gragg’s girlfriend.

Around 9pm, Cragg received several pages according to McGlown’s court testimony. After the first page, at Cragg’s request, Shanta called the number on his pager and asked for Kenny. The person who answered the phone said Kenny was not there. Gragg then gave Shanta a different phone number. She called and told the person who answered to tell Kenny Cragg was on his way.

Around 10:30pm Shanta and her cousin drove the Hardaway brothers to “Emma’s” house at 118 West 108th Place.

Walking down the street at the same time, Mike Griffin, a 14 year old member of the Black Disciples, saw Yummy sitting on the porch of an abandoned house at 105th Street and Edbrooke. Griffin stopped and talked to Yummy, who said he wanted to go home. After unsuccessfully calling a taxi from an acquaintance’s house further down the street, Yummy and Griffin walked to Jimesia Cooper’s house at 10609 South Edbrooke Avenue. The three gathered on the front porch where Jimesia’s mother, Cassandra, confronted Sandifer and convinced him he should go to his grandmother and turn himself in.

At 118 West 108th Place Cragg met Kenny. The two went onto a porch on the second floor where Kenny said Yummy “needed to be gotten rid of” according to court hearings. Kenny handed Cragg a .25 caliber silver-plated handgun. The eleven year old knew too much about the gang and, if caught, his cooperation could lead to the arrest of gang leaders. Kenny gave Cragg keys to a late model, light colored Oldsmobile Delta 88. They were to tell Yummy they were taking him out of town.

Yummy gave his grandmother’s telephone number to Cassandra Cooper. She then walked down the block to phone Fields to come pick up her grandson. Cooper reached Fields on the phone at approximately 11:30pm. When Cooper returned to her house, Yummy was gone.

While Griffin and Yummy were on the front porch, a light-colored car drove down Edbrooke Avenue. According to court testimony, Griffin noticed Cragg Hardaway as the driver. His younger brother Derrick was in the passenger seat. As the Hardaways drove to the acquaintance’s house where Griffin and Yummy had tried to call a taxi, they spotted Yummy on the porch with Jimesia Cooper and Griffin.

Cragg told his brother, Derrick, to go get Sandifer. Derrick got out of the car and walked towards the porch where Yummy was sitting. Derrick called out to Yummy who stood up. Derrick told him he was on his way out of town and Yummy needed to come along. Yummy and Griffin hopped over the porch and left. With Yummy and Griffin, Derrick walked towards Indiana Avenue where Cragg was waiting.

Griffin asked Derrick for a ride home. “We are on something. We will be too deep,” Derrick said according to court records. Griffin stopped in the alley and saw Derrick and Yummy walk down Indiana Avenue and get into the same car he had seen earlier. It was now about 11:45pm.

Yummy was told to get in the back seat and lay face down. Doing as he was told, he climbed into the back seat. They drove to a viaduct at 108th & Dauphin Avenue, 9 blocks from Cooper’s home.

Cragg, taking his younger brother aside, told Derrick to “get in the car, have it running, don’t turn your lights on, have the car in neutral, have the passenger door open.”

Yummy was walked a short distance into the tunnel tagged with gang graffiti. He got down on his knees and was shot twice in the back of his head with a .25 caliber pistol.

At 12:30 am police found Yummy” lying on dirt and bits of broken glass” according to newspaper reports. Yummy was wearing a green and gray sweatshirt with the Tasmanian Devilcartoon character on the front, green denim jeans, gym shoes and a purple plaid jacket. He was the city’s 637th murder victim of the year.

“Dead men tell no tales,” said a 37-year-old uncle of Robert. “They put him to sleep.”

At 11 years old, Robert Sandifer’s execution was a somber and dramatic epilogue to a 77 hour manhunt that griped the city of Chicago and got the attention of a nation.

Yummy’s Beginnings


Yummy was pronounced dead at 2:20am, on Thursday, September 1, 1994. Cook County Medical Examiner Edmund Donoghue, performing an autopsy on Yummy, discovered the physical evidence of his hardened and abusive life.

Yummy, with one copper-jacketed .25 caliber slug embedded in his not yet fully formed brain, had a tattoo on his right forearm, “BDN III,” which represented the Black Disciples Nation. Earlier in the week his grandmother had told reporters he had a tattoo that read “I love mommy.”

“There were 49 scars,” said Donoghue at the trial of Derrick Hardaway. “I had to use two diagrams.” There were so many scars on Yummy’s body he could not use the one chart typically used by medical examiners.

Born in Mississippi, Jannie Fields, Yummy’s grandmother, grew up part of a family of 27. In her mid-teens she gave birth to Lorina Sandifer, the third of ten children from four fathers.

By the time Lorina was 18, giving birth to Robert on March 12, 1983, she already had had two children of her own. Three months before his birth, Yummy’s teenage father, Robert Akins, went to prison on a felony gun charge according to Wisconsin court records. At the time of Robert’s death in the fall of 1994, Lorina, 29, had given birth to seven children and been arrested 41 times, mainly for street prostitution.

At 22 months old Robert Sandifer was introduced to the authorities. In 1985 he was admitted to Jackson Park Hospital covered with scratches and bruises. On the afternoon of January 19, 1986 police found Yummy home alone with his two older brothers, ages 3 and 5. Due to severe neglect, the Sandifers were brought to the attention of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) who intervened in August of 1986 when Lorina was 21.

“In this examiner’s opinion there is no reason to believe that Lorina Sandifer will ever be able to adequately meet her own needs, let alone to meet the needs of her growing family, which soon will be consisting of five children,” noted a psychiatrist in a report to the juvenile court. “There certainly has never been any stability in Lorina Sandifer’s life throughout her development periods to the present time.” A concurrent report detailed that Lorina assigned blame to Robert’s father for injuries the boy suffered, cigarette burns and markings from a beating by an electric cord, scratches on his neck and bruises on his arms and torso. Lorina than retracted the story, according to the report.

“He was a nice kid, as far as you know, being my son. In the time I got to know him, he was nice to me,” said Lorina in an interview still available on the Internet. When asked, “What did you try to teach your son?” Lorina replied, “As far as the little things that I got, as far as the little cars, to let him drive me around and stuff like that, you know.”

As a result of DCFS intervention in 1986, Robert and his three siblings were handed over to Fields, who “attempts to almost immediately dispute and deny the previous allegations” of abuse. “In this examiner’s opinion, the placement with the maternal grandmother is not a good placement for these children, who are in need of placement in a warm, nurturing environment, which they have never known.” The advice was disregarded. Fields got the children, raising her daughter’s four children along with five of her own.

Fields’ home was not a place where, evidence shows, Yummy was nurtured. A Cook County probation officer would testify that young women were working as prostitutes from Yummy’s grandmother’s home. According to Time Magazine, “nearly all her 10 children and 30 grandchildren lived with her at one time or another.”

To find family, Yummy took to the streets where he was taken in by the Black Disciples gang who nurtured the development of his criminal nature. By the time Yummy was 8, in January of 1992, he had been arrested. In July 1992, at 9, he was prosecuted for robbery but the case was dropped when a witness did not show up.  In January 1993, still only 9, he was prosecuted for attempted robbery in which a gun was used but not by him. In April of 1993 he was in court on robbery charges for stealing a jacket with several other defendants, but was released when the victim could not identify him as one of the attackers. In May of 1993 he was charged with attempted robbery, but the case was dropped in February of 1994 when a key witness failed to appear. In June of 1993 he was among several defendants charged in two cases with auto theft and arson. One case was dropped and he pled guilty to the other. Along with his January 1993 robbery charge, he was sentenced to two years of probation in February of 1994 while he was only 10.

After being committed to Lawrence Hall Youth Services’ Maryville Academy, a home for abused and neglected children in early 1994, Yummy quickly fled to return to the streets.

According to Newsweek, “Chicago police captured him in June and charged him with auto theft; he spent the next month in a jail-like juvenile facility.” On July 14th he pled guilty to a violation of his probation.

A DCFS caseworker recommended the court keep Yummy in the county’s juvenile detention center or an emergency shelter until the agency could make arrangements to transfer him to an out-of-state-facility. With long waiting lists and placements taking months, juvenile court Judge Thomas Sumner, unwilling to keep him imprisoned with older youths and lacking a facility that could treat him, released Yummy to the care of his grandmother, overruling a previous judge’s order that barred DCFS from placing Yummy at her house.

Shortly thereafter, on August, 15th, along with a group of youths, he was arrested for breaking into a school. Ominously, The Tribune’s Chicagoland section ran a headline, “Investigator burnout is feared at DCFS” on Tuesday, August 30th, while Yummy was on the run. The story’s lead reads, “The fear is that a tragedy is waiting to happen. The reality is that it very well could.”

In totality, Yummy was charged with 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in his short life. He was prosecuted on eight felonies and convicted twice; sentenced to probation – the most punitive penalty available under state law, at the time, for children under 13. Even for murder, state law barred jailing children under 13 in an Illinois Department of Corrections youth facility.

Notwithstanding his predilection for felonious behavior, some say Yummy was still a tender child. He liked the water and began swimming at a pool on 104th street. He was known for pushing kids in the water.

A week before his death, Robert visited his neighborhood school, Van Vlissingen, demolished in the late 1990’s, on 137 West 108th Place. Psychological reports taken when Yummy was ten concluded he was illiterate and could not perform simple addition.

“He said he had a frog at home and wanted to give this gift to the staff member,” said Principal Jacqueline Carothers, although he had not attended the school the previous academic year. “He was smiling and happy, an 11-year old child.”

Derrick Hardaway

“I talk to the youth when I get a chance on my own time. I try to show them the streets is a big lie that only leads to death or jail,” said Derrick Hardaway via a recent letter to this writer from Graham Correctional Center where he is serving a forty-five year sentence for his role in Yummy’s murder.

His conviction was voided by a federal judge in 2001 who ruled police improperly obtained a confession, but a federal appeals court reinstated the conviction a year later.

“When I go home I plan to spend time with my family, especially my son. I want to own my own business and start over. I also want to talk to the youth across the country so they don’t have to go through what I been through.”

In neat, lightly pressed print, Hardaway shared childhood memories from nearly two decades ago.

“Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infected community. It’s millions of Yummy’s it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.

I don’t have any memories of hanging with him. I do remember having a conversation with him. I went to buy a half ounce of rock cocaine and while I was waiting I saw him smoking weed. I asked him how old he was and he told me he was 16. I didn’t believe him. I got what I came for, smoked a little of his weed and left.

I seen him a short time later while I was shopping with my buddy and he was with a few more young members. I remember he said that yall down there shining. That mean we are living good or getting money. I laughed a little because I was telling people the same thing. I told Yummy he could come work for me.

Yummy had a small reputation in the neighborhood for being wild. He was a kid who liked guns and he wasen’t (sic) scared to shoot. The media made things seem worser (sic) than what it was.

When he was on the run from the police the neighborhood was at a standstill. It seemed like everything was in slow motion.

I wasen’t (sic) involved in finding Yummy. I always knew who he was with and where he was at.

As far as things that took place that night at Robert’s death I don’t discuss.”

Hardaway concluded his letter by offering help to this writer or anyone else in the future, “just ask.”

“He’s probably going to end up being a productive member of society,” Scott Cassidy, formerly Chief of Special Prosecutions with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, told the Associated Press in 2007.

Hardaway’s probable parole date is 2016, when he will be 36, having spent more than 60 percent of his life incarcerated. His brother, Cragg, received 60 years in a separate trial. His parole date is 2024.


“Covering the story of Yummy” at The Chicago Tribune

“Covering the story of Yummy happened out of the blue,” says John W. Fountain, whose byline appeared on nearly a dozen articles during The Chicago Tribune’s coverage of Robert Sandifer more than sixteen years ago.

Fountain, an award-winning journalist, was at the time the chief crime reporter for The Tribune, and would later work for The Washington Post, The New York Times and author True Vine, a memoir of overcoming poverty through faith.

“The stories that are going to be those memorable ones will evolve as you begin to report,” said Fountain. “It was a non-stop story, changing by the day.”

“We had to go out into the community and feel what the neighborhood felt like. There was a tension in the street, you could feel it, as the police were looking for this child there was an awareness that Chicago had been brought into the national spotlight.”

The attention Yummy’s story brought caused editors at The Tribune to pull reporters from suburban beats to canvass city neighborhoods. Fountain’s wife at the time, Monica Copeland, was placed on the story. “She was on the street the day before his body was found. She had gone to a neighbor’s house. They told her she had just missed Robert.”

“There were these sightings of Robert, but the authorities couldn’t put their hands on him.”

“Growing up on the West Side of Chicago and being familiar with how gangs operate, their primary method of business being street drug sales, if somebody brings heat on the gang it’s bad for business. Knowing how quickly they can eliminate the problem, we knew his life was in danger.”

“People are afraid of gang retaliation. It’s the whole “don’t snitch” and “snitches get stitches” ethos. It’s not surprising he could stay underground. Clearly Robert must have had some help, but somebody knew where he was because he ended up dead.”

“What made this story difficult to cover was that this was a kid – he was a child who actually looked younger that he was.”

“I covered Shavon Dean’s funeral earlier in the week, it was the same chapel where Robert’s wake was held. I will never forget the fiasco at the funeral held at a church a day or so later. It was an almost insane kind of setting of lights and cameras beaming over the casket.”

“At one point Robert’s grandmother got up out of her seat and all the lights just pivoted to focus on her. I remember being very angry that the press would not act in a more dignifying way.”

“I remember two things. His hair was relaxed in a finger wave style, which was unusual for a boy. And the picture on the funeral program was his mug shot.”

“It became clear to me then that there were a lot of people who failed Robert Sandifer before the world came to know him.”

“When you are in the midst of covering something you go into a reporting mode. You get up in the morning, you touch base with the desk, and you go out – gather data, synthesize it, and at the end of the day you go back and put the story together.”

“For those 8 days I remember working continually, I was exhausted. I remember taking a few days off. A colleague sent a supportive note, saying this surely must be taking a toll on you.”

In October, a five year old boy, Eric Morse, was dropped from the 14th floor of the Ida B. Wells housing development by a ten and eleven year old because he refused to steal candy.

“I got a call from one of my editors. They wanted me covering the Eric Morse story. I said, ‘I can’t. Not right now.’ It had taken its toll.”

To this day Fountain, a journalism professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, carries around Yummy’s picture in his portfolio and still has his worn notebooks from covering the story as it unfolded. Visiting Chicago area elementary and junior high schools regularly, Fountain shares his own life story and introduces children to the story of Robert Sandifer; his audience sits quietly and contemplatively as they listen.

“They have never heard of Yummy Sandifer. There are so many Yummy Sandifers. You can change the name and tweak the circumstances; it is a story that continues.”

“They are stunned by the story; they identify with it, and are moved, especially when they look at Robert’s photo. But rather than asking questions about Yummy, they tell stories about someone they knew who was killed, too.”

Is Yummy Forgotten?

“I wanna dedicate this one to Robert “Yummy” Sandifer. And all the other lil’ young niggas that’s in a rush to be gangstas,” the now deceased Tupac Shakur intones as an introductory overture to, “Young Niggaz” on Me Against the World  which debuted as the number 1 album on the Billboard 200 in March 1995.

“By now, nearly all of us know the story of Robert Sandifer, known as Yummy to his friends. He was first arrested when he was 8 years old. A couple of weeks ago, when he was only 11, he became a suspect in the gang shooting of an innocent girl named Shavon Dean. Several days later, that boy died himself in what Chicago police say was yet another gang-related killing,” said Bill Clinton in his President’s Radio Address on September 10, 1994 where he announced his eminent signing of a proclamation declaring the upcoming week National Gang Violence Prevention Week.

“Robert Sandifer’s grandmother despaired at his funeral because, she said, ‘I couldn’t reach you.’ We must keep doing everything we can to reach those children. And we must help them respect the law and keep them safe,” added President Clinton.

With piercing eyes and a hellfire gaze, on the unmistakable face of a child, the same mug shot the family used for his funeral program, Yummy stared out at the country on the front cover of the September 19, 1994 edition of Time Magazine with the headline; “The Short Violent Life of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer: So Young to Kill So Young to Die.”

According to the Chicago Police Department, from January to November 2010 the city saw 13 murder victims 9 and younger and 24 victims 10 to 16 years old. More than 58% of the 412 murders were defined as being gang related.

More than sixteen years after his nihilistic life and death was seared into America’s collective consciousness, the apparition of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer still haunts the streets and neighborhoods of Chicago.

135 Responses

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  1. meshell Gonzalez said, on March 21, 2011 at 1:15 am

    that poor baby he jus waz going there a fase monkey see monkey do he didnt no wat he waz doing he jus wanted to show his frends he waz kool,, but it didnt lead to no were but death!!! r.i.p yummy god bless your soul and all so you shavon r.i.p god bless u az well

  2. Tashay Harvey said, on March 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Poor boy he would be like 27 today if he was still alive. It was sad how he grew up, but yet he didn’t grow up he was still a baby in all. Rest in peace little boy and now you can really be that little boy if their is a after life

    • Perri Small said, on August 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Poor Yummy my a**, although I don’t believe most people are born evil, their parents are certainly demons. the grandmother was in total denial about her own children as well as “Yummy.” All the adults in his life failed him and to be honest, “yummy” is better off where he is and so are all of us.

      • cynthia brown said, on October 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm


      • Cecilia said, on February 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

        Wow…. I dont anyone is saying he was born evil, but with the deck stacked against him. I know most of us did not have the ideal childhood but there was that one powerful positive force that was there. Unfournatly he did not have this, even sadder there are millions of Yummies just like him all over the World not just the United States Of America. We as a people need to stand and take our children back. Shame on you for such a small minded opion. Read, look around get envolved!

      • loniece said, on March 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

        you ought to be ashamed of yourself,(Perri Small) that child needed some help and guidance but instead he got hooked up with the wrong people. Just because his mother, father, grandma, and the system failed him in life and so many more of OUR african american children doesn’t mean that people should fail him is death as well. NOT ONLY DID HE PAY THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, BUT THE CHILD THAT HE KILLED AS WELL. I remember when this happened like yesterday i was 18 years old. now i am a mother myself of 3 kids i constantly tell my children about the dangers of drugs and gangs and what the end result usually be. I tell them the story of “lil yummy” lost at such a young age but hopefully through his death it has detoured alot of children and teens from taking the same road. I pray that his mother has cleaned up herself and is truly being a mother to her other children.and I pray that his grandma finds peace in her heart as well because I know she has played that last phone call back in her mind a million times when he said “i just want to go home”

        Well now he is finally at home, his final destination

      • benjamin said, on April 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        Shut the fuck up Perri Small, pardon my French, but you clearly have no idea what it is to grow up in a rough neighborhood, drug infested family, where you have limited options. No damn juvenile justice centers wanted to house Robert, he was too young, he was too dangerous. People gave up on him, it could have been different, but I guess you are right, he is in a better place now. Whatever the hell that means.

      • Black Discple Nation said, on May 2, 2012 at 7:19 am

        Bitch Who The Fuck Is You ? Bitch Itz BDN Til I Die Yummy Was A Real Trey Folkz!!!

      • Jermaine said, on July 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

        @Perri… you don’t know what the f**k you’re talking about as far as speaking on what goes on in the streets… I know Robert personally and I knew his Grandma. She was a sweet lady and she had no control on what her kids or grandkids brought out of they life. I’m from the same place and I’m in a good place right now.. it’s all about the decisions you make. That is so wrong..everyone is entitiled to change.. I thank God that I met a dude like Robert, it just showed me how to live my life better. So know what you’re talking about before you start talking! Clown!!!!

      • kiara jack said, on June 23, 2014 at 6:03 am

        Well he didnt know better his grandma never knew where he was going yummy didnt know any better he was 8 he grew up without a dad without a mom he was probably scared of all of the bigger kids who were telling him what to do R.I.P yummy wish u could have gotten to live ur life they shouldnt have shot u they should have never put u in that gang in the first place…

      • chyan said, on September 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        u reallyy over doing it tbh he didnt deserve to die neither did SHAVON im sad that it happened the way it did but it happened and its over

      • Pacc Butler said, on September 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        It is a problem when we as adults are unable to feel the least bit empathetic of a child being murdered. Children are a product of their environment and of their parents. They cannot raise themselves. I grew up with Yummy. I was in the same gang as Yummy. I was involved with some of the same shootings as him. The only difference is that a cop took me off the streets and turned my abandoned life around. So basically you are saying I was better off dead too. Kids are not inherently evil, but it takes an adult to raise one. I wrote a book about this very topic. The title is “From God’s Monster To The Devil’s Angel: Life of a Chicago Gang member. You can also look at my webpage that touches on these issues at

    • Kim said, on August 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      When a child is left to themselves they become their own teacher. As a child when you don’t receive the nurture that you need they go to the street, where they will receive the love they think is good. Its a shame that his mother,father and grandmother all failed him. But to think what he went through as a baby up until his 11th birthday he suffered.

  3. Slim said, on April 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    It’s crazy that this crap is still going on today. I live in Chicago so i know first hand about the present “Yummys” in our society today. PEOPLE dont ignore this violence in our community. I WILL make a difference and help troubled youth so that this sad ending will only be a reminder of how things can and will turn out if actions arent taking. ADULTS step up and do what is expected to be done.

  4. Nicole L. said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    WoW @Yummy I remember I was almost in middle school 6 grade. My 6th grade teacher Mr. Burns made us read about you. I said then and I will say now, all you needed was love. I still feel butterflies in my stomach when I revisted you. Your birth day is comming up and I just wanted to let you know you haven’t been forgotten! Happy Birth Day “Yummy” I am 28 so that makes it so that you would have been 29.I don’t know if you entered the Golden Gates but where ever you are,I pray you find Love and finally Peace XOXO Washington DC remembers lil Yummy!

  5. Victoria said, on April 29, 2011 at 3:56 am

    We were the same age, I grew up on 110th tween state n perry, that was the year my mom moved us to Iowa. He would only be 28 now but it’s still crazy that baby needed some serious love.

  6. shontae p.g. said, on May 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    i no where yummy comes from i too come from a drug addicted family background my 2 brothers and i have been abused from my aunt when she was high on drugs….our family history is drugs,alcohol, and pimping…i am blessed we had love from our mother dispite the hardships we all had to endure to survive we had love from my mom….i come from the same background as yummy,the street and all ive done it now i have children and want to protect them from mines,their daddy, uncles and yummys way of life..i too couldve been dead or was close to facing 10 years in prison…i had god on my side. my heart goes out…it aint easy espeacilly with limited help…it aint easy

  7. Chad McClarrin said, on July 4, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Its a harsh reminder of the ills of society! Death comes at any age, shape, form or fashion. So while you are beating and abusing your child be mindful of the monster you are creating!

  8. kells said, on July 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Its a dam shame i was 14 when this happend and this stuck in my head after all these years now im thirty two. ..the jjustice system failed him and he only did what he knew. .which dont mis understand what im saying theres was no excuse for what he did..but an eleven year old should be freakin playing tag and drinking outta of the neighbors water hoses because hes thirsty. .his parents are to blame for the misdirection and bs he had to go through in such a young life abuse neglect drugs violence all that may he rest in peace because its sad that he left the world soo young

  9. sandra rogers said, on July 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    May you RIP…All you ever needed was love and support from your family…Instead of the family giving it him, he had to turn to the life on the streets filled with nothing but crimes, gangs, drugs and killings..smh at the senseless acts thats happening on the streets of Chicago. Some of our older people who suppose to be role models and teaches the young right from wrong are actually failing them.

    • gwedoe3000 said, on September 10, 2014 at 2:55 am

      RIP yummy my brother we all made mistakes in life even if they are different situations they are still mistakes you will always live through me as long as I am alive!!! One love brother!!!!

  10. S.E.W. said, on July 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Although it has been 17 years ago, I am lost for words, my heart and soul goes out to his family, mainly his grandmother.To this day, there are still children in this situation. It is up to the parents to step up and grab control of thier child/chidren. Calling all aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and even nieghbors, lets help one another make a change in somebodies child/children life. I was told it take a village to raise a child and I do believe that. I just thank GOD that I was raised in a home where love blossemed andthat same love I gave to my child, May GOD be with any family that is going through this.

    A Caring Person in Houston

  11. Resse said, on July 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    It’s sad to see such a young child exposed to the trials of adults. His mother and grandmother are products and made that child a product too. In Philadelphia, gangs are not common if they ever existed. But I have been pressured into a doing bad things (gang like activity). And I decided to turn away. All this boy needed was someone that cared about him. He leaned on the first group of people that showed any affection. Another sad ending to what couldve been a story of perseverance. May you rest in peace Yummy.

  12. Fred Flinstone said, on July 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Whatever. Sooner or later that little piece of shit would have end up in the joint or killed on the street. Good riddance

  13. Jo Wheeler said, on August 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

    This follow up piece of the Yummy Sandifer tragedy was written in January of this year. Yummy would be 27, and the two 14 & 16 yr old brothers convicted of his murder 31 and 33 respectively (serving 45 and 60 year sentences respectively.)

  14. Andrea Miller said, on August 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I remember this on the news I was 19yrs old then..and this story still sends chills up my spine, when i hear or see,a picture of him,although he was a child his eyes looked so Cold,yet in still I see the innocence in them also.this was a very sad story.

  15. Harvis Baggett said, on August 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    It is ashame for a person as Robert Sandifer died at such a very young age. Myself I am from the same neighborhood as Robert Sandifer. I was born and raised in Roseland aka wild wild 100’s This boy didn’t get a chance to live his life. I was 19 at the time when Robert Sandifer was out there gangbanger and shooting People. It depressed me about Robert Sandifer died and did not get a Chance to live a full life. May God be with you. R.I.P Robert Sandifer and Shavon Dean.

    • Vinny Verducci said, on June 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      It’s good he didn’t get a chance to “live his life”. Imagine how many others he would have hurt, robbed and killed had he lived longer. I too grew up in an abusive household. No drugs but lots of physical abuse (including sexual abuse of my sister). That is no excuse for turning into a robbing, thieving, killing p.o.s.. It sounds like a genetic thing. His whole family are lowlife criminals and should be sterilized to prevent the breeding of more thieves, thugs, drug addicts and murderers.

  16. Do Better said, on August 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Maybe it’s me but I don’t feel so bad that Yummy passed away, don’t get me wrong yes it is very sad and unfortunate that he lost his life at such a young age but I’m thinking he would have terrorized the whole neighborhood had he lived longer. My thoughts are with the two boys who were injured and the family of Shavon Dean who lost her life because of this hoodlum wannabe gangster.

    • enigma said, on March 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Do Better – I know this is a super late reply but i’ve got to say my piece. I understand why you feel Yummy is better off now than he would have been if he had lived. Just as his family and the system failed him before these murders they would have continued failing him whether the murders had occured or not. But I sense some kind of “negativity” from you towards him. This child was way too young to understand that what he was doing or its consequences. He was born, bred, cultivated even, in an enviroment that condoned/practiced every type of lawlessness you can think of. He was taught through instruction and example. As the article said, his brain hadnt even finished developing yet.

  17. mikey g said, on August 15, 2011 at 12:59 am

    My heart goes out 2 shavon and yummy’s family. It’s always sad to see a child in a casket; he aint know what he was doing. What’s fucked up is that some can blame him, but not the one who put the gun in his hand and taught him to kill. R.i.p yummy; so young to kill, so young to die.

  18. Abby said, on August 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I was reading a book about this and im 14 i couldnt believe what i read so i google searched it makes me sad to know what went on in his life and makes me feel blessed for what i have it makes me think it could me that died or my lil brother or cousin this story has made me ssee life in a different way and i will make sure no one i know turns out this way r.i.p yummy and shavon

  19. Sunshyne Regal said, on August 22, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I was 16 when this happened, and I remember how much this story affected me because I had twin brothers the same age as this little boy. I couldn’t believe it, I didnt know neither of them but their story is forever embedded in my mind. I remember talking about this for weeks after it happened because I just couldn’t understand how this could happen to someone. R.I.P Shavon your story touch my heart, I remember seeing your mom on television crying and how my heart ached. R.I.P Yummy your life was short lived but the story it told helped me be a good mom to my children and love them as hard as could.

  20. […] story about the short and violent life of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, gang member, murderer, and murder victim before he was killed in 1994 at the age of […]

  21. […] Yummy one day would shoot Kianta Britten (age 14) because he wouldn’t claim the right set. Kiante would ultimately be partially paralyzed for life. Then later on that day Yummy would shoot at a group of boys playing football who he allegedly believed were rival gang members. In doing this Yummy hit some of the boys and a stray bullet would hit Shavon Deani in head killing her instantly. Yummy would go on the run for the next few days under the protection of the Black Disciples until he was found five days later shot 4 times execution style by the same gang members he was affiliated with. The gang members (young themselves) killed Yummy because they thought he would snitch on the gang and implicate them in all the crimes he committed. ( Check out more on this story) […]

    • vincent thomas said, on July 1, 2012 at 3:46 am

      man thats fuck up lil yummy in the other victims when our black people gone learn its realy us if u look at it no one who doing it but us every day but R.I.P yummy- Shavon it make no sents all

  22. Don said, on September 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Awesome read. Tragic story.

  23. G. Neri said, on September 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Great article. This is a story I could never forget and ended up writing a book for teens. Anyone interested in more should check out my graphic novel “Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty”:


    • Aleela Griffin said, on June 19, 2014 at 4:15 am

      I loved your book, still reading it in 2014, and honestly, his story is so sad, I couldn’t imagine this happening to me, especially how he was killed, it brings tears to my eyes. I respect you for writing that.

  24. […] they thought he would snitch on the gang and implicate them in all the crimes he committed. ( Check out more on this story)This story always hit home to me for two reasons. The first reason was that Yummy and I were around […]

  25. Raffeal DjDoc Parker said, on September 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Gone but not forgotten:Dantrell Davis,Robert “Yummy”Sandifer,Shavon L.Dean and prayers for Craag and Derrick Hardaway.Lives were turned upside down by”CHILDREN”!Take the streets back,take you children back!Do you know where your children are?Black men where are you?

  26. bella kordella said, on September 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    So many people were touched by one Innocent’s lost life. I feel it all! I maintain that young Sandifer was an Innocent because evidence presented abuse and possible developmental disability. Let’s not forget his age.

    Some people don’t consider, for one moment, that children like Yummy, are everywhere AND many of them are undiagnosed and struggling in a place that doesn’t understand them. We only judge and see what we choose to see.
    IF this boy presented with developmental disorders or socio-emotional impairments, he was further victimized. Ultimately, parents are obligated to provide for their children, but when they don’t, that’s it? We’re done? What about societal morals and the education system that failed to provide Robert Sandifer with a FAPE? Where was the school’s social worker or nurse while this boy remained lost in illiteracy and social impairment? Our public schools get money to locate and provide services to our kids! Administrators earn up to SIX figures to “Child Find” and deliver sevices to kids, and where were they while they knew Yummy should have been in school? Damn it, it disturbs me to know that at any time, some thing can be done to serve these kids and something could have been done for young Sandifer! WE PAY for those services with our taxes, and we’re supposed to accept this crap in exchange for our precious money? Something is very out of whack with that.

    Little Yummy was an abused child who was violated on so many levels and not one Adult or Representative dared to follow up and assume responsibility for him? What about the legal system that failed him? Why should we go on simply incarcerating these kids, when they need help, whether they have Special Needs or not! This is our world, our society, and if we, the capable “normal” ones, step up and serve OTHERS we might see less damage. Prison does not resolve or address the deeper implications, it only makes things worse for all of us because after these broken kids do their time in failing prison systems, they’re let loose, right back into the dangerous conditions they came from. There’s no rehab, no one taking these kids to school, no meds, no adult taking legal responsibility– and then more people die or suffer.
    When are more of us going to get it? Love and compassion and serving the needy DOES change lives; they do make a difference, and when we are at our most humble level, serving others freely and lovingly, we are the strongest as leaders and role models, and at our best, morally.

    And yes, I’m going there: Jesus was a servant who washed the feet of others. The King of the world washed dusty feet! Come on, man, let’s not judge and blame and remain ignorant to the Truth. We’re all involved and we’re all connected. It’s too costly to live in delusion and ignoring it only fees the dysfunction that we don’t want. Volunteer at your local YMCA, volunteer at your church or find a church. Donate time, talents or five dollars once a month to a program for At-Risk kids or the homeless. Rattle your alderman’s cage, who cares if that alderman isn’t paid much money or already has a full time job? He/she signed UP for the role and you/we voted that person in! Do give a damn about the kids you see on the streets. They’re your streets in your neighborhood sometimes, why not take an active interest?
    We can’t save the world, and I don’t even try to, but I can be something to some one who has nothing else. THAT makes a difference. Multiply that by 10 or 100 others, who give something positive, and see the love become infectious! You don’t even have to spend a dime because that doesn’t provide love. Be the peace love and joy you want to see.
    Humans: the most destructive natural force on the planet.

  27. Margie Miller said, on September 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    where are Yummys’ siblings now?? what became of them??

  28. Tiffiny Townend said, on September 17, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I definitely remember this story. I was a teenager then. Now Im an adult and it shocks me even more.

    • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      i am so sorry you had to see and here what happen to yummy R.I.P YUMMY -ALI 14

  29. Margie said, on September 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I would like to know where Robert’s family members are at now,what became of them…

  30. BM said, on September 19, 2011 at 2:36 am

    I am in my 40’s and I remember this story while I was taking music classes in Ohio. His mother and father were losers, the grandmother was overworked and the system did not care about this little black boy. He still complied 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in all and plus he murdered a girl. If you live by the sword then you must die by it. He knew that what he was doing was wrong becuase of the fact that he hid from authority. While tragic, he did this to himself. Sad but true

  31. Cardave sandier said, on October 2, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Yea it’s crazy the back ground we came from. I just see people look talking crazy. My brother was a nice young man the street lie and the things the papers put is bs. I still see people dont take there own blame. For there kids problem so they, just bring my brother up.

    • STEELWOLVES said, on November 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Yes – – – he would doubtless have grown up to be a fine upstanding member of ghetto society (sarcasm). Actually he already *WAS*.

    • jumel said, on November 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Cardave..Are you the Brother of Yummy ?.. My prayers are with you and your family. I understand that your Moma had her own Problems and distractions and your Grandmother did what she could for you all. Nobody mentions that you where being fed by somebody, clothed by somebody. given toys. only the negative side was in the news. How is your family now ? Lorenzo, Victor, Aunt Gloria, your Mama and your grandmother (Janie fields) your baby sister ?? God Bless you all x

      Jumel (england UK)

      • margie said, on November 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        Yes,I would love to know where the family of Yummy is now and what became of them all…

    • margie said, on July 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

      So you are Roberts’ brother? How are you and ur family doing? My deepest sympathies for ALL Robert went thru.

  32. bd said, on October 3, 2011 at 2:42 am

    MAN!!!! as i read this story it reminds me of me!!!!!I was brought up n a abousive home i was adopted and was beat4rm 4 to 12 im also am a member of the bds at 11 i turned 2 to street of Memphis Tenn where i felt safe i was shot twise once n ma back and once n da side of ma stomach 4rm tryin to dodge buttlets wen gunfire broke out as result of me robbing a blood i tried 2 shoot back but the pain i was n was to severe so i jus laid there life jus leavein 4rm ma body until a man help me i am 22 nw trying 2 get out da game even if it takes death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. kendra walker said, on October 16, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I am only 24 and i didnt even know who this little boy was until i saw him on a poster behind Tupac. Now that i know who he is i feel so sad. This is just ashame. I mean i live in Jersey and have know clue what ghetto life is like….but if this is the outcome why hasnt anybody done anything? At least the people in the ghetto neighborhoods. Why are you letting your children grow up like this. Omg….

  34. Mike Travis said, on October 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    This is one of the most tragic stories I have ever heard of. The tragic life of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer an 11 year old gang member murdered by his own gang. He was arrested as a gang member for armed robbery at 8 years old. When he died he had 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors. How in the hel des sit like this happen. If parents and kids don’t believe this can happen to you and yours.This should open up our minds. R.I.P. Yummy

  35. finchyking said, on October 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I read about this story a long time ago and I am still intrigued by it. It is very sad to know that this little boy (not even a young man) was doomed from the start. He did not have even the slightest chance at a normal life. God bless his soul!

  36. Darrin Williams said, on November 22, 2011 at 1:28 am

    This story is unbelievable…… SO SAD

  37. Lisa said, on December 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Yes its sad that yammy died but there has been loads of kids dying in gang violence before after and since it happened that kid isnt nor would he or she die in the hands of gangs. Still today theirs innocent men women and cildren dying all over the world due to poverty crime etc

  38. Lisa said, on December 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Its a shame that we the world have still problems with gang cuture in many parts of the world its never going to change when you have got poverty. Its a shame we live in a world like this i used to live in glasow uk and there is a very serious problem with the gang cuture over there

  39. little mikey said, on January 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I remember this story like it was yesterday me and yummy is the same age . I am 28 now yummy story is sad because me and my friends was yummy or knew of so many robert like him . I live on 62 michigan when this happen and this when I join a gang in chicago . My mom move me and my brother and sister from the hood to the burbs because she found out I join the four corner hustla . but I was so attracted to the street life and in it so deep at a early age that I did not almost make it a live . But by living in the burbs and have a attitude I did not make it out in the burbs so my dad move me back to the city because I get into to much trouble . Sad that the little girl lost her life because of him that why when I went to jail and change my life up I take kid’s like yummy and work with them because they don’t understand there actions

    • mjtaylor said, on May 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Why is everyone’sad’ for this child, who murdered an maimed so many? I understand that he was a child but what about the victims that were forever changed by this? Don’t they get a little understanding? Thier lives were forever changed too. So while everyone feels sorry for this child, let’s also understand that there were victims too.

    • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm


  40. Rachel Matias said, on January 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I never knew who this child was & his tragic ending.

  41. Keith Texplycit Robinson said, on January 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm


  42. Keith said, on February 7, 2012 at 2:21 am

    The even bigger question is, what changes came about as the result of this case? DCFS was not prepared to deal with this. The courts had trouble placing him in the proper facility. Did any positive changes come out of this mess? If people just shrugged their shoulders and said “yup, this was horrible,” and then shuffled along, then it was all for nothing. It’s important to tell Yummy’s story, but it’s even more important to show that we took action and applied the hard lessons learned to make life better for thousands of other Yummy’s out there.

    • whitey said, on April 13, 2012 at 2:13 am

      funny….. hmmm….. this didn’t happen in the Roseland of the…. ’20s…. ’30s…. the ’40s….. ’50s…. ’60s…. even the ’70s (well, early ’70s, that is)…. wonder what the difference is?

      • margie miller said, on May 3, 2012 at 5:19 am

        What I’d really like to know is where Yummys’ family is now.What happened to his siblings,how did they turn out? Where’s Lorena now,where is Yummys’ Father,GrandMother,etc..I would find that info very interesting…

      • JudgeU said, on July 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Explain your comment. What is the difference, since you so clearly think you know. And really, whitey??…wonder if you’re a racist?

        Also while I’m here, many of the people posting here don’t know how to write. For example, THEIR is belonging to them, THEY’RE is they are. THERE is the opposite of here. Perhaps the first step towards a better world for our children is not being complacent about ignorance.

  43. richy said, on February 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    They actually wrote a grafic novel on him called Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri

    I read it and its a great book:)

  44. Michael said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Wow I can’t believe something like
    This could happen to a young childs
    Life when will people learn that life
    Is a gift from god and we should
    Cherish it may God bless this child
    Soul and may he rest in peace

  45. said, on February 15, 2012 at 6:09 am

    my response as a parent first my heart goes out to the families of all those who have loss loved ones to the streets and gang violence. we must also learn that the child learns first what the parent is teaching inside the home and what goats we set for our children. This was just a baby thrown away to the streets, a child that did not have anyone to talk to, to tell his problems to, to get guidance from, he may not have had a big brother or a church to confided in, so his only resort was to turn to a big brother or father figure to lead him in not only the wrong direction but to the directuion of destruction, it is up to us as partents, adults, mentors, teachers and pastors to talk to young children make them talk about what is going on in their minds, if they need help, it it up to the the adults to help that child before we have more of these killings occur again. Little do one know this child my have been asking for help for a very long time, so unti we can come up with an solution to help our teen stop the killinging we must also look far inside ourselves as parents/adults to see where the real problems lie

  46. B-dawg said, on February 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

    “Yummy” is where he belongs (six feet under.) And I say this without reservation.
    I remember this story when it was in the news 17 years ago. Then, as now I couldn’t help but notice the mainstream media’s attempt to “humanize” this little monster by speaking of his “love for cookies.” (So he liked cookies? Oooh, how PRECIOUS! What did the media think a conscienceless young predator was supposed to like? Rusty razor blades marinated in motor oil maybe? Give me a f—ing break!!!)
    Just think, he’d be about 28 years old today if he was still alive. He wouldn’t be cute anymore, he wouldn’t be 4’6 and 86 pounds anymore, and he probably wouldn’t be nicknamed “Yummy” anymore. He’d be a grown, hardened thug who had been killing people since he was a child. He’d be someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley!!!
    And the world’s a better place (and who knows how many people are still alive today) because he’s DEAD.

    • margie miller said, on May 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      He WAS a human.Do you know what it’s like to grow up in the surroundings he did ~ with the family life he did? bc THAT is exactly why he turned out the way he did. I am saying this in response to ppl like B-Dawg-I grew up in Roseland-so growing up in the city,I have “some” understanding how something like this could happen.Yummy was a victim as much as Shavon & the others.This is how & what Yummy was RAISED to do-his only guidance was the thugs on the street! Yummy & his siblings were badly abused/neglected at home.He didn’t have a Mother & Father showing him any love.Yes,he turned out badly but how bout we take a good look at Lorena Sandifer-THAT”S where the bulk of the blame lies..

    • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm


      • margie said, on November 25, 2012 at 1:00 am

        you shut up bitch-read what you typed-doesn’t even make any sense-you can’t even type out ONE fucking sentence that has any sort of meaning.

  47. cooper said, on March 3, 2012 at 4:30 am

    robert was failed by people who was supposed too love him the most every body was a victim in this story

    • margie miller said, on May 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      you got that right brother~this poor kid was doomed from birth.and I really wonder where all his family members are today-what became of them as time went on?…

  48. cooper said, on March 3, 2012 at 4:34 am


  49. John Smith said, on March 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Man fuck yummy… He got what he deserved… He killed over 10 people but the don’t tell y’all that… Fuck him I’m glad he dead… He shoot at us one night and we was just playing it…

    • Jermaine said, on July 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      @ John…..MAN WHO ARE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m Jermaine Willis graduated Van Vlissingen… Lived on 107th and Wabash for 20 years and if you know Yummy you know me.! And if you grew up in the 100’s you know how we was raised. So for you to say Fuck Yummy, you a fucking clown! He was a kid that didn’t have a chance to grow up… I lost my niece Tanaja Stokes 2010, she was an innocent kid but still in all she was a kid. Every kid is entilled to life. goofy… Talking bout he killed 10 people.. you don’t even know what in the fuck u talking about…

      • jmullerwashingtonsyndicate said, on July 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm

        @Jermaine… I am in Washington, DC and have never been to Chicago. I was in the 5th grade when I first read about Yummy and his shortened life, and Shavon’s. I wrote this story impartially and objectively. Where do I say “Fuck Yummy?”

      • Charmaine Smith said, on March 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        hello…how r u…i just wanted to know if Yummy grandmother is still living????

  50. Nancy said, on April 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    What a tragic story, I cried as I read it. I blame the parents, grandma, and the system. If mom hadn’t spent so much time on her back, and had grandma put her foot up her daughters ass, make here take responsibility for her kids, there may never have been a “Yummy story”. I have no sympathy for shitty parents! I had my first son when I was 14, my second son when I was 17, and yes, I raised both by myself. Same father, but he was as worthless as they come. Anyway, I went to school, worked, and took care of my kids, my mom helped so much, thank you mom, and my biggest fear was losing my boys to gang life. I put the fear of death in those two, I showed them who the boss was, and it certianly wasn’t them. My oldest did get into a little trouble, did couple days in juvie, my younger one, he caused me no pain. Now I can say that my boys, 26 and 23, are wonderful young men. All Yummy needed was love and guidance. RIP Yummy

    • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      You r right the parents did shit yummy diserved better

      • margie said, on November 25, 2012 at 1:02 am

        yeah,listen to ur ass now!

  51. Diane Thomas said, on May 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    This is a sad case. I knew Yummy personally as did I Shavon Dean. I was older than both of them but I was very good friends with members of both of their families. Yummy DID NOT KILL SHAVON and I hate that they have been saying this for nearly 2 decades. Thats why he was killed. Yes, he was a troubled child but he didn’t deserve to die. He could have been rehabilitated given the right influences and adequate love and guidance. But, too little to late. As parents, we need to truly parent our children! It has only gotten worse…

    • Cecilia said, on May 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

      What really happened? This is so sad. I remember when this happened, even sadder now that Im a parent and understand that so many children dont have a chance.

  52. Sag said, on May 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I graduated with Shavon, she was a cool person!! It was so sad when she died, i remember other classmates crying in the streets! I lived a blook over from lil Yummy, i knew him aswell, the streets was spooked of him, older niggas & kids his age! But if you saw him, he looked like any other child! Playing tag, video games & tuff like that! But to those that knew him, he was the definition of Wild 100’s, & back then almost every lil boy wanted to be a Gangsta! Thats what we saw from the older niggas, so thats what we wanted to be.. There is no help in the hood for young neglected blacks where im from, just prison cells & a early grave! Either you make it out or you don’t! For those of you that are saying fuck Yummy! Ya’ll are sad people, thats whats wrong with these kids now, to many of you muthafukas don’t give a fuck about them so they turn to the streets! Im not saying nothing he did was right, but i know how you can go from being innocent, to being a problem child! R.I.P SHAVON & R.I.P YUMMY

    • margie miller said, on May 15, 2012 at 2:52 am

      You said it straight up Sag!

    • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      would you mind telling me about it i am 14 years and read a book about yummy but i want someone who was there point of what happened

      • ALIZETTE said, on June 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        btw this is to sag

      • margie said, on November 25, 2012 at 1:05 am

        well ur the one who’s been runnin their mouth-and NOW you want to know what really happened….

  53. shay said, on May 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Its a shame that child didn’t have no help from no where! The streets ate that poor child up! I’m from the Roseland area so I know what goes on! That gang had no damn love for him, they got rid of him cause he was bad for business, disposed of him like he was nothing, and with no regard to the fact that he was just an eleven yr old kid. Tell me, what’s the honor in that??? Why is that something to brag and boast about???!!! Gang members are cowards to me. They were then and they still are today. His family should be ashamed of themselves, they gave that child to the streets. Its ashame, somebody taught that child how to rob, use a gun, and kill, before somebody taught him how to read a book and be a kid. He didn’t have a chance when he was born :( R.I.P Yummy.

    • margie miller said, on May 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

      So true Shay.That comment is the truth-THEY GAVE YUMMY TO THE STREETS.His so-called “Mother” was no kind of Mother.On the day of Yummys’ funeral reporters asked her what cemetary he was bein buried in-she jus nonchalantly waved her hand & said,”I don’t know,my Moms handled all that”,and went back to laughin & playin w/her flavor of the week.So sad she didn’t know/didn’t care where he was even bein buried at.The only picture of Yummy that exists is a mug shot.One of Yummys’ siblings went BLIND bc momma couldn’t be bothered w/takin the kid to the Dr. for an eye infection. I could go on & on but I’m jus sittin here gettin madder.Where the hell is his “Mother now?And Yummys’ siblings? I would LOVE to know where all their lives went all these years later…

      • meetoo said, on November 21, 2012 at 12:38 am

        his mother Reen died age 42 in 2005, his eldest brother Lorenzo died aged 26 in 2006

      • margie miller said, on November 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        wow~do you know how they died?
        wonder if they were buried by Yummy..
        Thanx for ur response,I’ve so often wondered about his family.again,would be interested in HOW they died,if you know..

      • margie miller said, on April 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        How did Robert’s mother Lorina die? And how did his brother die? I suppose the Grandmother had to bury them as well….?

  54. mjtaylor said, on May 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm


  55. Ibrahim Rooble said, on May 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of things but 11? Poor kid never stood a chance… Look after your kids people

  56. Lil mikey said, on June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    It ain’t nobody fault!! Stuff just happens!!! All we can do is pray for our kids and there future!!!

    • margie miller said, on June 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      “It ain’t nobody’s fault”?? BULLSHIT! You think “shit jus happens”?? REALLY? Let’s start w/his you know ANY of the family history? Momma was never around,leaving all her small children home alone at a much too young age {neglect} and when she was there Yummy & his siblings were abused! He was left to the streets.You tell me how a kid is able to quit school at the age of 8! Get a clue dude.Read up on Yummys’ home background-then come back & tell me how it’s nobodys fault.

  57. Hidden said, on July 1, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I wonder if he cried as kneeled down for his execution. I wonder if he even knew what was about to happen. I wonder if he begged for his life…..I just wonder what his last few seconds of life was like….Shameful…

    • margie said, on July 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I’ve wondered the same thing myself-can’t seem to get that part out of my mind.There is only ONE person that can answer that question,and he won’t talk about it.

  58. arielle said, on July 9, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Such a sad story

  59. Charlotte said, on July 15, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Being angry doesn’t change anything. This was a lesson to people (especially children) at a time when gang violence was being glorified. Still to this day people are killing each other over petty things such as what color you wear. At least now you don’t hear about how great it is every time you turn on MTV. It took quite a few shocking deaths to get to the people to that point. Callus as it may seem take it as a lesson. Love your children and TEACH them better. Hug them tell them you love them. Teach them discipline. Teach them to love and respect themselves and others. I really believe that if a few more people would have done that for Robert he would still be with us today…. As a survivor of childhood violence I can say that without the extra love and example I received from a few amazing people in my life I would have cycled into a violent and angry person myself. The only place he found love and acceptance was in a gang and a gun……. Don’t let his tortured life or tragic death be in vain. Think with a clear and calm head and LEARN. :)

  60. Charlotte said, on July 15, 2012 at 5:54 am

    P.S. The rebirth of Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert might help too. It went off the air in 1985. I find it to be a odd coincidence that gang violence and black on black crime skyrocketed shortly thereafter. Values…… Spend Time with your children and TEACH THEM VALUES!!!! Thank you…..

  61. Charlotte said, on July 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I guess I’m not done yet. I was reading all the comments and I couldn’t help but notice the poor uneducated man who call himself Black Discple Nation. You know you might need an education if you can’t spell your own gang’s name correctly. With a name like black disciples you would think that you would be working for unity among our people. You would think a group with a name like that would be working to find true liberation for all blacks. You wouldn’t think that a group who call themselves black disciples would degrade their people and gun them down in the streets. Odd how those things work sometimes……………….

  62. Marsha said, on July 19, 2012 at 1:24 am

    This is one of the saddest stories that I have EVER read….. this child NEVER had a chance at life. His so-called mother it seems was a low life prostitute, and I am betting that she was a druggie, and that may account for Robert’s behavioral issues… he was probably addicted to whatever drugs his mother was taking. His grandmother, at the grand age of 30, took Robert in…… wow – and I am betting that the grandmother was not much better than the mother. Unfortunately, this little boy is probably much better off now, he had a hard, short life, and it would have never gotten any better, he would have ended up dead at some point down the road, or sitting in jail for one or more of his numerous felonies or murders…. so very sad! I have an 11 year old grandson, and I can’t even imagine –

    I happened upon this story when I was searching for news about Roseland – I grew up there – I lived there in the 50’s…. far removed from any of you that live there now – it was a lovely, safe community when I was a child, we never had to worry about walking the streets, or standing outside our house…. we used to walk up and down Michigan Ave & State St at night, and we never worried about anything, except being in the house by the time the street lights when on… that was a rule my parents made. I am not casting any blame on the people that live there now. The sad part of this whole scenario is that this type of condition and behavior is an on going thing…. it has been going on for probably a hundred years…. these people were “freed” over a 100 years ago, with no education, and no access to it, and absolutely no prospects. We set you free, but what did your ancestors have???? Many of them, even back then, had to resort to whatever they could to survive…. some lucky ones were able to raise themselves and their families up, but it was a struggle.
    Most of them, and not all, have lived in these conditions for generations, they don’t know any better. There will always be “Roberts”, maybe not so young, but it’s the same story. There are children having children, they have no education, no money, and absolutely no direction. It’s total poverty, and I guess they just have to do what they need to do to survive. And, no, I do not have an answer, it is a shame that the children in these neighborhoods need to belong to a gang to get by…. selling drugs, prostituting, killing, who wins? No one

  63. Casino said, on July 25, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I know cragg hardaway as a kid in school and I also did time with him in prison after the murder conviction.keep yo head up dude.

  64. […] A lot has been said about the horror of random violence lately, fueled by madness and disconnection with society…but that shouldn’t take any attention away from the other violence that infects us. It’s not random, it’s targeted, it’s people vs the neighbors they grew up with, the rivals they’ve been told to hate…the gang violence, profit violence, pride violence, and the violence of poverty that takes out both players and bystanders and babies. It’s a daily obstacle course in a lot of inner cities around the county, but especially in my home town, Chicago. The headlines are shocking, and some stories that get national attention (like William Balfour, the man sentenced to 3 life terms after killing Jennifer Hudson’s brother, mother and young nephew), but worse than that, they are constant and they’ve been like this forever. […]

  65. […] A lot has been said about the horror of random violence lately, fueled by madness and disconnection with society…but that shouldn’t take any attention away from the other violence that infects us. It’s not random, it’s targeted, it’s people vs the neighbors they grew up with, the rivals they’ve been told to hate…the gang violence, profit violence, pride violence, and the violence of poverty that takes out both players and bystanders and babies. It’s a daily obstacle course in a lot of inner cities around the county, but especially in my home town, Chicago. The headlines are shocking, and some stories that get national attention (like William Balfour, the man sentenced to 3 life terms after killing Jennifer Hudson’s brother, mother and young nephew), but worse than that, they are constant and they’ve been like this forever. […]

  66. wesleythompson said, on August 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Poor robert my ass!!!!! What about all the people (most) of them young some younger than him that he killed. It’s true this is very very sad not just for robert, but all the people he killed. I think everything you do comes back to you good &the bad. There’s still a lot of young black men who today still act like fucking assholes. We are our ouw worse enemy. What goes around comes around. AND FOR THE RECORD NOT I DON’T THINK ROBERT SANDIFER DESERVE WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM. BUT NEITHER DID NON OF HIS VICTIMS. I HOPE WE AS YOUNG BLACK MEN “GET” OUR SHIT TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!

    • margie said, on August 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      First you say,”Poor Robert my ass!”,then you say he didn’t deserve what happened to him.
      Make up your mind………

  67. Oscar said, on August 30, 2012 at 5:00 am

    I’ve lived in the Roseland area since the 70’s I had cousins that used to stay on 108th Place and Wentworth when Yummy was running around the streets, I was 36 when he died, But I knew of him because a stole a bike from my son and my son and step-brother went to get the bike back. Yummy was a terror in his young age. you have to feel bad for what he went through as a child to spend most of his life growing up in a gang, the only people that would show him love and then end up killing him for fear of being exposed. Whether he’s in heaven or hell you hope and prayer that another child will not have to endure the life that Robert Yummy Sandifer did.

  68. DESTINY said, on October 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    This story is sad either way it goes its just sad for anybody to be murdered! When will these kids be able to live there lives and die from old age! Its still going on as of today kids killing kids, kids being killed because there at the right place but the wrong time Chicago has the more killings than ever now! Sad story may the all R.I.P

    • 74BEASTMODE said, on January 11, 2013 at 12:18 am


  69. cuzo said, on March 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Ain’t nobody can b mad at shorty for doing what he had to do for his set chain of command is a motherfucker rip yummy just read Ur story I ain’t mad at u shorty may the lord forgive u for Ur sins n have mercy for Ur soul shorty the lord forgives people dnt R.I.P ROBERT YUMMY SANDIFER

  70. generational welfare said, on March 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Glad he died as early as possible.
    Lets be honest – he would have maimed, killed and victimized innocents for as long as he lived.
    Anyone on any sort of Section 8, W.I.C., welfare for more than ONE generation or give birth before the age of 18, should be mandated to be sterilized as a condition of the money/housing.

    These people could never have become the dangerous burdens on society and turned loose such legions of monster offspring if they were not being supported by generational welfare benefits. You cant solve this problem by counseling because these are the lowest or the low, and do not have the mental capacity to benefit from counseling.. They generational welfare state allowed them to develop into exactly what they are.

    • gangsta disciple said, on September 10, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Fuck you!!!! RIP to my Hommie yummy umma see you at the cross roads for now umma pour out the brews!!!and fo you negative bitches if it ain’t respecting the dead don’t comment!!! (LORD KNOWS);

  71. Malcolm "bubble" carter said, on March 24, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I love and miss shavon deen and yummy.
    R.i.peace love

  72. Lisa88 said, on March 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

    @ generational welfare that’s so ignorant for you to say some s@$& like that, what about the kids that shoot up schools and there parents and there not on any of that wic and other government assistance stuff? I agree what he did wasn’t right however I wish he would’ve gotten the help and attention he needed from adults, but for you to say what you said is sick and disrespectful # rip yummy and shavon

  73. Love said, on May 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Years later, I see this blog. I couldn’t stop reading each and everyone of the comments. Indeed, a variety of perspectives of the who, what, and why of Yummy’s tragic death. I worked in the community where the Sandifer Family resided and witnessed day to day activities of the residents in the Roseland area. I wasn’t at all surprised at the outcome of Yummy’s life. The handwriting was on the wall, and it is still is for many of the young and not so young African-American males in that community. Yes, it is very true that Yummy was failed by those who should have been his responsible, loving, and nurturing caretakers; but again, I am not surprised that he was failed, after looking at his family’s perpetual history: teen moms, teen dads, absent moms, absent dads, uneducated, etc. And make no mistake, I am not judging his family, but stating the evidence of the facts. One of the realities is, young Yummy and all the children who lived in his home had no role models. I have no doubt that his grandmother didn’t love her children and grandchildren, but at 30 years of age, I have to wonder why she couldn’t control her household. Why did she allow her 8 year old grandson to leave and enter her home at any hour of the day or night? Why did she allow her grandson to become truant at school? The list of questions…….I wonders, are all based on what I witnessed. Unfortunately, it was not only Yummy that was a victim of neglect, but his siblings and cousins as well. And outside of his home, it certainly didn’t help Yummy that he lived in a neighborhood where the street environment was similar to his home environment. Did his gang family members fail him……..I wonder? The Roseland Community, the wild wild 100’s haven’t changed for the better. Gangs, murders, and crimes have all escalated. For those who blogged, boasted, claimed BDN and their love for the Sandifer Family, the Dean Family, and other families that were victims of tragic crimes (some committed by Yummy and the BDNs that were not mentioned) …….what have you done in the community, the neighborhood, and on the street blocks that these tragedies occurred, to end this senseless loss of life and honor the memories of the Shavon Deans, …………………………………….I wonder !

  74. […] On defending Robert “Yummy” Sandifer: […]

  75. FactzOnly TheTruthTeller said, on June 11, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Its extremely weak how cowards become brave at their computer desk. Lashing out at ppl with typed words they could never speak in that persons presence. After reading about “Yummy” and the comments about his life…its crazy how some could say “hes better off dead”…he was simply a misguided KID. But i believe in CHANGE…he could have CHANGED with help from the right ppl/person. But those of you making RACIST/STUPID comments aint no better…the hate you carry is worse then “Yummy” ever was. He didnt know better…YOU DO!! You cant judge the deceased, doing so makes you extremely idiotic! Go overseas…you a see a bunch of shorties with AK’s….READY….murder is not a BLACK THING…its a decision that can be made by ANYONE…..But..we all have to go sumday…SO DONT GET TOO COMFORTABLE….#Vented #FeelBetter #LordHelpUs #IwillNEVERShutUp #FuckYoFeelings #TheTruthHasBeenSpoken

  76. Stephanie said, on August 7, 2014 at 3:59 am

    September 1, 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of Robert Yummy Sandifers death. I was 20yrs old when he past pregnant with my first son year 1994. That summer hot n crazy. Death toll in Chicago surpassed 900 murders it was insane. Robert was a kid looking for love on the streets. A child at that age just want to be accepted and need nurturing plus guidance. Yummy really had no chance from the time he was in his mother’s womb. I wish I could of raised him. I would of shown him love and what a family really is. So those who say bad things about him shame on you. Take of your shoes and close your eyes and imagine Yummy’s world…not the world of living in the hood. Imagine the world of a 11 years of hardcore abuse and neglect. Then ask yourself what if. We love you Yummy. You are not forgotten.

  77. Nubianqueen said, on September 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm


  78. kentrell gayden said, on October 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    it dean

  79. tottaxi said, on December 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Hello. from Liam and Saylor…

  80. Chris said, on December 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I was 13years old and grew up less than 5 blocks from where this all happened, and my girlfriend lived on 108th and Edbrooke at the time. I recall being scared to go to the park or to her house when this happened. Now I have a 8 year old son and I can’t imagine him doing any of the stuff Robert was doing at that age. I think it’s a lack of love and good parenting in some of these kids lives.

  81. TYWANA said, on December 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm


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