DECATUR– With three homicides occurring in Decatur in the last six weeks, Decatur police have found themselves working furiously to close all three cases.
Police Chief Brad Sweeney, Deputy Chief Cody Moore, State’s Attorney Jay Scott, and Lieutenant Shannon Seal, held a press conference Tuesday morning to address the status of all 3 homicides that have occurred since early April.
“We want the families affected by these horrific crimes to know that we are doing everything in our power to bring the people that did this to justice,” Sweeney said.
On April 6th, police found 19 year old Paige Mars’ body near the bike trail on the 1100 block of Lincoln Park Drive. The young woman was shot to death, hit multiple times in her torso and head. Shortly after finding her body, police arrested two suspects, whose names have not been released, on charges not related to the murder. Deputy Chief Moore said officers were making progress on that case and they believe they have found the weapon used in her murder within the last 72 hours. The two suspects are being held in the Macon County Jail on unrelated charges.
“If the evidence comes to fruition like we think it will, we will pursue 1st degree murder charges against the suspects in this case,” Moore said.
Mars’s homicide was the 1st recorded homicide in Decatur for the year. A long Memorial Day weekend, however, would see that number triple.
Just after 12:30 am on Saturday police were called to the 900 block of North Pine Street on reports of multiple shots fired; when they arrived they found 42 year old Paul E. Robinson on the porch of a residence on the 700 block of West King Street. Mr. Robinson was transported to Decatur Memorial Hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds.
“We think there are multiple groups of people in the area who may have witnessed this shooting and we need them to come forward to provide us with some information,” Moore said. “Eyewitness accounts are sometimes the most valuable pieces of information in a crime like this.”
Then on Monday, police arrived at Club Maxey (1816 N. Water) where they were responding to a call of multiple gunshots fired. On arrival the police found five people in total were shot during a rap show at the club, one of them fatally. Police say four of the five people shot suffered non-life threatening injuries, but 28 year old Mishari Halbrook died as a result of being shot.
Moore said after an investigation, the suspect was identified as 18 year old Jevon Barber of Joliet. Working with the Joliet Police Department and the US Marshalls, Moore said Barber was arrested in Joliet and has since been transported to the Macon County Jail where he is currently being held on $1 million bond.
Moore said the shooting of Halbrook stemmed from an incident earlier that night, “We have determined that the group of people with Halbrook got into a confrontation with the group of people with Barber and we believe that led to the shooting later that night.”
“We want people to know that we are working tirelessly to solve these cases,” Moore added. “We also want it to be known that none of these incidents were random, we know that all three victims knew their assailants, they were targeted shootings.”
Sweeney said they are still looking for information related to the Saturday morning shooting on King Street. If you have any information on the crime, you are being urged to call the Crimestoppers a 423-TIPS.