Cases against teens charged with murder after Old Mill Creek homeowner shot boy continued
As supporters blasted felony murder charges against five Chicago youths as a "travesty," their cases were continued until Sept. 19 while Lake County prosecutors sift through evidence regarding the death of a teen during what they describe as an attempted car theft in Old Mill Creek.
According to a statement issued by Lake County State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim, there are hundreds of pages of police reports and other evidence relevant to the case that are continuing to come in from multiple law enforcement agencies.
In court Thursday, Assistant State's Attorney Stephen J. Scheller said prosecutors were looking at everything before making a formal charging decision.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 13, a 75-year-old Old Mill Creek homeowner confronted the youths because, he told police, they were trying to steal one of his cars. The man told authorities one of them came toward him with an object in his hand. The man, whose name has not been released, then shot 14-year-old Ja'quan Swopes in the head. He died at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
A 10-inch knife later was recovered from the driveway, authorities said.
The five suspects are all charged under a state law that holds a person legally responsible for the death of an accomplice killed in the commission of a forcible felony. Charged with felony murder are Diamond C. Davis, an 18-year-old woman; her twin brothers Steven Davis and Stacy Davis, 17; Kendrix Cooper, a 17-year-old boy; and Curtis Dawson, a 16-year-old boy.
About 20 friends and family members of the five defendants came to Waukegan Thursday in support.
The Rev. Marshall Hatch of Chicago gave a statement after the hearing.
"It's an absolute overcharge," Hatch said of the five being charged with felony murder," Hatch said. "So what is a tragedy is now becoming a travesty."
In a statement Thursday, Nerheim said his office will continue to evaluate the case and work toward a resolution that is fair to all parties involved. "In doing so, I will consider the facts, circumstances, any mitigating factors, and the ages of the offenders," Nerheim said.
Bail for all five defendants was set at $1 million each last month.