James E. Brown Jr., 26, of the 200 block of Linn Court, North Aurora, one of the alleged gunmen in last November’s deadly drive-by shooting in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision, pled not guilty to four felony indictments during an arraignment on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.
Brown appeared in court remotely Tuesday from the Kendall County Jail as Judge Robert Pilmer read indictments for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm. If found guilty for either of the first pair of charges, Brown could face life in prison under Illinois firearm enhancement sentencing.
Brown’s lawyer, well-known Chicago criminal attorney Joseph Lopez, issued the pleas of not-guilty for his client Tuesday morning.
Kendall County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka said in court he would turn over discovery evidence to Lopez, which includes flash drives of phone data.
Brown and his alleged accomplice in the shooting, Jaquarance Handley, 31, of the 900 block of Bluebell Circle in Joliet, have been in custody at the Kendall County Jail since Nov. 11 on $2 million bonds
The cases stem from a shooting that occurred in the late morning of Nov. 11 on Sierra Road, where Brown and Handley allegedly shot an AR-15 into a residential home during an attempted gang hit. Two women were shot: one in her 40s who later died of her injuries at a nearby hospital, and another in her 20s, who faced life-threatening injuries. The intended target of the shooting escaped, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird confirmed in November.
Kendall County authorities apprehended Brown and Handley, and recovered the reported murder weapon within hours of the shooting with assistance from local residents and the Aurora Police Department.
Handley, who faces identical charges to Brown, stated in court earlier this month he might represent himself, though he has retained Yorkville criminal attorney Jason Majer.
For the charge of first degree murder, Brown faces 45 years to life in prison without eligibility of parole under firearm enhancements along with a fine of up to $25,000. The indictment of attempted first degree murder with firearm enhancements carries between 31 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole and up to $25,000 in fines.
The secondary charges of aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm could carry up to 60 and 30 years in prison respectively with Brown required to serve 85 percent of the sentence.
Brown is set to appear in court again on Wednesday, April 7 at 11 a.m.
Source: The Daily Chronicle