R.I.P. Janay McFarlane. The man accused of killing an 18-year-old new mom in Chicago last week won’t be making bail anytime soon.
Bail was set at $3 million this morning for a North Chicago man charged in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old woman last Friday, the same day her sister attended President Barack Obama’s speech on gun violence, officials said.
Jim McPherson, 21, is charged with murder, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon, and possession of a controlled substance, authorities said. Police said they continue to question a second person about the slaying of Janay McFarlane.
McFarlane, from Chicago, was shot at about 11:30 p.m. Friday in the 1300 block of Jackson Avenue in the northern suburb.
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said McFarlane was walking with two friends to John’s Liquor and Mini Mart near the corner of Jackson and 14th streets when they saw McPherson staring at them. Shortly after leaving the convenience store, they heard gunshots, Nerheim said.
“There was talk of a stare-down, or some type of minor confrontation at the liquor store,” Nerheim said. “They heard gun shots, they took cover, the victim tragically was shot in the head.”
One of McFarlane’s friends later identified McPherson as the shooter, according to Nerheim.
Police found five spent .380-caliber casings at the scene, Nerheim said. In a search of McPherson’s home, investigators found a .44-caliber gun, a 9mm gun, scales, and baggies that tested positive for blow, Nerheim said.
McFarlane’s mother, Angela Blakely, has said one of her daughter’s friends may have been the intended target. Responding officers canvassed the area and, acting on a tip, took the two suspects into custody, according to police.
McFarlane was killed just hours after her sister, Destini Warren, 14, had attended Obama’s speech at Hyde Park Academy on the South Side Friday.
Blakely, the mother of both girls, said the family had been anticipating the president’s visit to the school, where Destini is a freshman. McFarlane had frequently mentioned the recent death of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, who was shot to death a mile from the Obama’s home and spurred the president’s visit.
“It’s hard for us,” Herb McFarlane, Janay’s father, said after the bond hearing. “I don’t want my child or any child to die in vain.”
Herb McFarlane said he’d gotten off the phone with Janay an hour before she died. He said her sister Destini, who was at the Obama speech, is “taking it very hard.”
Herb McFarlane said his daughter was a “vibrant young mother who was interested in following in her father’s footsteps in the culinary arts.”
Contrary to what some had reported, he said, “My daughter has no gang affiliation whatsoever.”
Nerheim supported that statement: “There was no evidence that this victim was involved in any gang.”
Neither Police Chief Jim Jackson nor Neirhem would comment on any possible gang affiliation of the defendant.
McPherson has been arrested criminally eight times, including for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, mob action, domestic battery, criminal damage to property and possession of a controlled substance. He was convicted of criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct.
Nerheim called it “a tragic irony” that Janay McFarlane died by gun violence the same day as the Obama appearance at her sister’s school. He said the suspect was taken into custody within 30 minutes of the shooting.
This is so sad. We pray Janay’s family will get justice for her death. The entire city of Chicago remains in our prayers as well.
This violence has got to stop.