Allendale case may soon be heading to trial

  • James Davis, 39, of Round Lake

    James Davis, 39, of Round Lake

Updated 7/25/2017 4:52 PM

The case against a Round Lake man accused of manslaughter in a teen's death at a Lake Villa group home may soon be heading to trial.

Attorneys have set a Sept. 20 hearing date for pretrial motions surrounding the case of James Davis, 39, who's charged with involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice in the death of Shaquan Allen at the Allendale Association Lake Villa campus.


Initially filed in April 2016, Davis' case has been delayed months as attorneys have reviewed thousands of pages of emails and reports about the Allendale campus before and after the March 30, 2016, death of the 16-year-old Chicago boy.

Authorities say the teen died when employees Davis and Justin Serak were trying to get him back into his room following a behavioral episode. The situation escalated into a physical confrontation in which Davis grabbed Shaquan's upper body and applied a chokehold while Serak held the teen's legs, authorities say.

Lake Villa police and rescue were called to the campus at 9:58 p.m. in response to a reported injury. Shaquan was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was pronounced dead at 11:10 p.m., officials said.

Authorities said 15 minutes passed between the time the teen fell unconscious and Allendale staff members called 911.

Davis and Serak initially told investigators the teen slipped on a wet floor, authorities said. But multiple witnesses contradicted that account, and Serak later admitted he and Davis came up with the story to make Shaquan's death appear to be an accident, officials said.

Serak, 28, of Grafton, Wisconsin, initially was charged with obstruction of justice, but the charge was dropped in April after he agreed to testify against Davis.

Davis is due to return to court Aug. 29, when a trial date is expected to be set. He remains in custody at the Lake County jail on $500,000 bail.

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