Lone adult member of Lake County Five pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal car theft attempt
Diamond Davis, one of the five Chicago teens initially charged with felony murder in connection with a car theft gone wrong in Old Mill Creek last month, pleaded guilty to reduced charges during a hearing Thursday morning.
Davis, 18, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, a felony with a sentence of up to three years in prison, and criminal trespass to a vehicle, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail. She will be sentenced Oct. 18.
Davis will likely remain in jail until that time because Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti did not revoke her $1 million bail.
Her lawyer, public defender Jeff Facklam, argued that her bail should be reduced or revoked, citing how the circumstances of the charges have changed, how little money Davis had and that Davis has had to go a long time without seeing her 1-year-old child.
"We ask she be released on a recognizance bond so she can be home with her family and child and start making better choices," Facklam said, while Davis stood behind him, weeping silently.
Prosecutor Ken LaRue said Davis has an extensive history of run-ins with the law and added he believed there was a chance she would reoffend.
Rossetti decided not to revoke the bail.
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim initially charged Davis and four others, all teen boys from Chicago, with felony murder in the death of their accomplice, 14-year-old Jaquan Swopes, who was shot by a homeowner during what authorities described as an attempted car theft Aug. 13. The four others had their cases remanded to juvenile court last week.
While reversing a decision that sparked controversy, Nerheim said last week the facts still support the murder charges. He said he agreed to reduce the charges after considering evidence, mitigation presented by defense counsel and wishes of the shot accomplice's family, and added the agreement ensures "all offenders will be held responsible and face appropriate sentence."
According to authorities, Davis, the four boys and Swopes drove to Old Mill Creek to steal a car. The 75-year-old homeowner told authorities he noticed headlights moving up his driveway about 1:15 a.m. After the vehicle turned around to face the road, "several occupants" got out and approached the house, Nerheim has said.
That's when the homeowner, armed with a legally registered handgun, went outside. The homeowner, who has not been charged, told police he announced his presence and shouted for the teens to leave his property. Nerheim has said the man told police "several" offenders moved quickly toward him, one "carrying an object."
The homeowner fired several shots "to try and scare the offenders away," telling investigators he feared for his safety and the safety of his wife, Nerheim has said. One shot struck Swopes in the head and he later died from the injury.
Investigators recovered a 10-inch-long hunting knife on the driveway.
Nerheim declined to make additional comments about the case after Davis' hearing Thursday.