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$3 million bond for man charged in fatal shooting of woman in North Chicago

Janay McFarlane 18 was killed late Friday just hours after her younger sister was among group teens who were onstage

Janay McFarlane, 18, was killed late Friday just hours after her younger sister was among a group of teens who were onstage as President Barack Obama gave a speech in Chicago on violence.

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:23AM

Bond was set at $3 million for a North Chicago man charged in connection with the death of a young woman gunned down Feb. 15 just hours after her sister attended an event where President Barack Obama delivered an address against violence.

Jim McPherson, 21, was charged with first-degree murder, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon in the death of Janay McFarlane, 18. He also was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

McFarlane’s mother, who is now helping raise her daughter’s 4-month-old son, said the arrest and charges bring limited solace.

“It’s somewhat of a relief but it’s still painful because it’s never going to bring my daughter back,” Angela Blakely said. “I’m glad they caught the [alleged] perpetrator as quickly as they did because some people never find who would do this kind of thing to their child or loved one. My daughter did not deserve to die like this.”

Blakely said she doesn’t know the man charged in her daughter’s death and said her daughter didn’t either.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said McFarlane came from Chicago to visit two friends Friday. She and her friends decided to walk to John’s Liquor Store and the Mini Mart, located at 1000 14th St., North Chicago. McPherson was inside the store.

The suspect “was staring at them and appeared to be staring them down,” said Nerheim, adding McFarlane and her friends left the store and took an alley to walk to a home a couple of blocks away.

McPherson left the liquor store and got into a car driven by his brother. He had his brother drop him off at the intersection of 13th and Victoria streets, which is where witnesses reported hearing shots, Nerheim said.

McFarlane was found with a gunshot wound to the head in an alley in the 1300 block of Jackson Street. She died at the scene, Nerheim said.

“One witness observed the defendant running away [from the alley],” Nerheim said.

McPherson went back to his brother’s vehicle, where he was “out of breath” and said more than once “let’s get out of here,” Nerheim said.

North Chicago Police executed a search warrant at his brother’s North Chicago residence where they found clothing matching witnesses’s descriptions. A search warrant at McPherson’s residence yielded three guns and scales baggies, which tested positive for cocaine, Nerheim said.

Judge Raymond Collins granted Nerheim’s $3 million bond request.

McPherson is in custody at the Lake County Jail.

He had eight prior arrests, including assault, drugs and battery, according to Nerheim and court records.

Officials said another person was being questioned in the murder.

McFarlane’s parents were present at McPherson’s bond hearing. Last Friday, McFarlane’s sister, Destini, 14, sat just feet away from Obama as he spoke last week at Hyde Park Career Academy in Chicago about the violence plaguing the nation.

The victim’s father, Herb McFarlane of Beach Park, who spoke at a news conference in North Chicago, thanked Nerheim, Mayor Leon Rockingham and CeaseFire, a violence prevention group that has been working to prevent retaliation for his daughter’s death.

Contributing: Judy Masterson and Stefano Esposito

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