A month after he filed controversial murder charges against five teens whose friend was killed during an alleged burglary, Lake County’s top prosecutor has decided to drop them for lesser charges under an agreement with the families of the suspects. […]
The teens were charged with murder in the shooting of one of their friends by an Old Mill Creek homeowner, who told police the group was in his driveway near one of his cars in the early morning hours of Aug. 13.
The homeowner involved told police that when a member of the group began moving toward him with something in his hand, he fired shots, striking 14-year-old Ja’quan Swopes in the head and killing him. Authorities said a knife was found on the driveway in the area in which the homeowner said the teens were. […]
While Illinois law allows authorities to charge suspects with murder if someone dies during the commission of a felony, Nerheim’s decision to charge the teens with the felony murder of one of their group shot by someone else resulted in a backlash from activist and advocate groups.
* Excerpt from the state’s attorney’s press release…
Let me begin by saying the safety of our community and the enforcement of the criminal laws is paramount. Justice requires that all offenders be held accountable and appropriately sentenced for their crimes. The circumstances and facts outlined in my statement support the charge of Felony Murder. However, after full consideration of all the evidence, mitigation presented by defense counsel as well as the wishes of the victim’s family, my office has entered into an agreement with defense counsel for the five offenders. This agreement ensures all offenders will be held responsible and face appropriate sentences.
Diamond Davis, 18, of Chicago, is expected to appear in Lake County bond court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, where she will be formally charged with a class 4 felony of conspiracy to commit burglary and a class A misdemeanor of criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. Davis is expected today to waive her preliminary hearing, then plead guilty to the two charges next week. The preliminary charge of felony murder will be dismissed today. The case will then be scheduled for a sentencing hearing after she pleads guilty.
The cases against the four juvenile offenders are moving to juvenile court, and the charge of felony murder will be dismissed. However, due to strict laws governing juvenile courtroom proceedings, my office is unable to give details regarding the charges involving the juveniles going forward.