16-year-old boy charged with fatally shooting friend

Youthful adventure can rapidly become tragic, especially if handguns are involved. Two Belleville teenagers were allegedly trying to frighten the residents of a house on West Main Street by firing shots into the dwelling when one of them is alleged to have accidentally shot the other. Now, one of the boys is dead, and the other has been charged with his murder. A competent criminal defense attorney may be the suspect’s only hope to avoid conviction for a major crime.

According to police, the two boys were walking down an alley when they decided to fire shots into a dwelling. Police have said that neither boy knew the residents of the house. They walked from the alley toward the house, stopping a few feet away. One youth stood several feet behind the other. Police claim that when they turned to open fire, the boy who was further from the house allegedly shot his friend in the abdomen. The wounded boy was taken to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his wound. The Major Case Squad was called in to help Belleville police find the boy who allegedly fired the deadly shot.

Under Illinois law, a person who commits a serious crime, such as the alleged murder in this case, must be charged as an adult. In addition, a person can be charged with committing first degree murder if, while committing a crime involving violence, a person is killed. The crime of shooting at the house provides a sufficient legal justification for invoking the so-called “felony murder rule.”

In spite of the felony murder rule, the defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The suspect in this case faces the most serious charge possible – first degree murder – but he may benefit from the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can spot weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, suggest potential defense strategies, and, if the facts warrant such action, negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “16-year-old was trying to fire into house when he fatally shot friend, police say,” Mary Cooley and Dana Rieck, Nov. 3, 2017