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Prosecutor drops murder charges against alleged car thieves

September 19, 2019

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — Lake County prosecutors have dropped murder charges against five teenagers whose friend was fatally shot by a homeowner as they allegedly tried to steal his car.

In a statement, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim says after analyzing evidence collected after the Aug. 13 incident and talking to defense attorneys, his office determined lesser charges were more appropriate.

Under a deal with prosecutors, 18-year-old Diamond Davis on Thursday agreed to plead guilty to felony conspiracy to commit burglary and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. The other four, 16 and 17 years old, appeared in Lake County Juvenile Court on the same charges.

Authorities allege the teens were trying to steal a vehicle in Old Mill Creek when the 75-year-old homeowner fatally shot 14-year-old Ja’Quan Swopes. After leaving the boy with police working a traffic stop, three suspects led police on a 50-mile chase that ended in Chicago.

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