Murder suspect charged in standoff
BY JON SEIDEL AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporters March 18, 2014 10:56AM
Joseph Andrew Felton Jr. | Henry County, Ga. Police photo
Updated: April 20, 2014 6:16AM
The suspect in a Georgia murder faces attempted murder and other charges in Illinois stemming from a standoff that closed Lake Shore Drive for nearly nine hours.
Joseph Andrew Felton Jr., 43, was charged Tuesday with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated fleeing from police after a 20-mile chase from Harvey to Lake Shore Drive. At times, the vehicles reached speeds of more than 100 mph.
Felton also faces charges as a fugitive from justice on a Georgia arrest warrant.
Police in Henry County, Ga., said Tuesday they expect Felton to be extradited there, where he is a suspect in the murder of his wife, Sheray Felton, who was found dead Saturday.
The woman died of blunt force trauma, including lacerations with an edged weapon, according to a statement Tuesday from Sgt. Joey Smith, public information officer for Henry County police.
“At this time we are building a case for prosecution and to maintain integrity, we will not discuss specifics of the investigation,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Felton, who remains hospitalized, held without bail.
“The defendant has no concern for the safety of the public at large and the value of human life,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Griffin told Chiampas.
In court Tuesday, Griffin pointed out that Felton’s alleged actions were carried out in “broad daylight” surrounded by police officers and civilian drivers.
On Sunday, police opened fire on Felton after he rammed a vehicle full of civilians and appeared to be holding a handgun as he tried to flee on Lake Shore Drive, according to Chicago Police.
Harvey police originally chased Felton into Chicago, but a spokeswoman for the south suburban department denied its officers fired any shots.
Chicago Police said gunshots were first fired by Chicago and state police after heavy traffic in the 2000 block of North Lake Shore Drive slowed the man’s escape and he rammed a civilian vehicle.
Later, near the 2500 block of North Lake Shore Drive, police said the suspect appeared to be holding a handgun after he intentionally ran his car into a Chicago Police vehicle. That’s when CPD said more shots were fired by Chicago officers as they approached to render aid. Felton was not hit by any bullets fired by Chicago and Illinois State Police.
At that point, Chicago police said the suspect’s car had been disabled, and he refused to get out. That led to a standoff that closed Lake Shore Drive for nearly nine hours.
In January, Sheray Felton claimed her husband held her against her will and gagged her with a pair of basketball shorts, according to court records that also allege he repeatedly threatened her life.
Felton was charged earlier this year in Georgia with false imprisonment and simple battery, records show. Jim Wright, the Henry County district attorney, declined Monday to discuss the specifics of that case.
But Sheray Felton sought a protective order against her husband at the time, explaining her ordeal and that she moved to Georgia from Chicago because of their past domestic issues.
Felton’s criminal history includes a 1999 Illinois conviction for attempted murder. In that case, Felton kicked in the door of a woman with whom he shared a child, before using a razor blade to slash her body, prosecutors said. Felton then dragged the woman to his car, drove her around for 12 hours, before taking her to a hospital, where he told staff someone had robbed her, prosecutors said.
Felton received 13 years in prison for the crime, prosecutors said. He also has a 1990 conviction for aggravated battery, prosecutors said.
Contributing: LeeAnn Shelton and Jordan Owen