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$3M bond in North Chicago murder case of Janay McFarlane

Herbert McFarlane Beach Park with his finance MelissAlbarran Beach Park attend press conference North Chicago City Hall about arrest charges

Herbert McFarlane of Beach Park with his finance Melissa Albarran of Beach Park attend a press conference at North Chicago City Hall about the arrest and charges of Jim McPherson, 21, who allegedly killed his daughter Janay McFarlane, 18, in a drive-by shooting in North Chicago last Friday. The press conference was held at the North Chicago City Hall. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 22, 2013 9:53AM

Bond was set at $3 million for the accused murderer of teenager Janay McFarlane.

Jim McPherson, 21, of the 1100 block of Victoria Street, North Chicago, was charged Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court with first-degree murder, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. McFarlane’s murder was Lake County’s first in 2013.

He is accused of shooting McFarlane, 18, of Chicago the night of Feb. 15 in North Chicago. McFarlane’s younger sister was in Chicago listening to the president’s anti-gun speech the same day as the shooting.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim handled the bond review Wednesday.

“This is the first murder that’s occurred while I was state’s attorney. I’m going to be a very hands-on state’s attorney,” Nerheim said.

McFarlane came from Chicago to visit two friends Feb. 15, Nerheim said. She and her friends decided to walk to John’s Liquor Store and Mini Mart, 1000 14th St. McPherson was inside the store.

“Witnesses would (say) the defendant was staring at them and appeared to be staring them down,” Nerheim said.

McFarlane and her friends left the store and took an alley to go home, which was a couple of blocks away, Nerheim said.

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

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

McPherson said “yeah” when asked if he would be hiring an attorney. He asked to call his brother for bond money, but Nerheim asked Collins not to allow McPherson to have any contact with his brother, who is a witness in the case. Collins granted the request.

McPherson is in custody at Lake County Jail. He is due back in court for status of attorney Feb. 26.

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

“North Chicago continues to investigate the matter ... within half an hour of the murder, they had the defendant and three guns off the street. A lot of people were working a lot of hours on this case right when it happened,” Nerheim said.

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