4 teens released after Lake County drops controversial murder charges

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — The Lake County State's Attorney has decided to drop controversial murder charges against five teenagers from Chicago whose friend was killed during a burglary.

The top prosecutor has decided to drop the murder charges for lesser charges under an agreement with the families of the suspects.

As part of the agreement, the only adult charged in case, 18-year-old Diamond Davis, has agreed to plead guilty to a felony burglary charge and a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

On Aug. 13, a homeowner in Old Mill Creek shot and killed 14-year-old Ja'quan Swopes after the homeowner found the teens and his group of friends in the driveway of his home.

The teens were charged with Swopes' murder due to the Illinois Felony Murder Law, which allows those committing felonies to be charged with murder if someone dies during the crime.

The murder charge was dismissed against the four juveniles, but no further details about what charges they may be facing were provided.

The families of the teenagers breathed a collective sigh of relief. Many of them were outspoken from the very beginning about murder charges being unfair.

“He’s coming home today and a pray that my son stays on a straight and narrow path and do what’s right,” Chloe Pollion, mother of one of the juveniles, said.

Her son and his cousins were facing 20 to 60 years in prison.

“I didn’t know if my cousin was going to be alive or not,” Pollion’s son said.  “I prayed about everything from the beginning.  I’m happy to be home and have the opportunity to see sunlight again.”

Pollion said she was grateful that the state's attorney reconsidered.

“He could have made us fight for years. He could have easily taken their life away in the system,” Pollion said. “So I really want to thank him for coming to an understanding with us.”

The homeowner, who is a licensed gun owner, was not charged.

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