Charges upgraded for man already serving 28 years in prison

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James Jackson | Illinois Department of Corrections

Charges have been upgraded to first-degree murder against a man serving 28 years in prison for stabbing his girlfriend in 2006 in the West Side Austin neighborhood, after the woman died in June.

James Jackson, 38, was sentenced to 28 years after being convicted of attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery for the July 21, 2006, incident, Assistant State’s Attorney Liam Reardon said during a bond hearing Thursday.

The victim, 30-year-old Angelique McCellan, was paralyzed from the waist down after the stabbing and permanently confined to a wheelchair, Reardon said.

She eventually died at 7:54 p.m. June 12 at Kindred Hospital Chicago in Northlake, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her home address was listed in the 700 bock of North Long.

McCellan and Jackson had been in a dating relationship for four years and had two children together at the time of the incident, Reardon said. On July 20, 2006, the couple got into a fight and McCellan asked Jackson to move out of their apartment in the 100 block of North Lorel.

Early the next morning, McCellan was in front of the apartment building with two of their neighbors when Jackson walked up and forced her into the hallway, Reardon said. He then stabbed her 15 times in the neck, arms, chest and back.

Jackson walked out of the building still holding the knife and covered in McCellan’s blood, Reardon said. While the victim pretended to be dead, Jackson walked into the building a second time and stabbed her again. Jackson’s sister was at the scene by this time and pushed him off of McCellan.

Jackson then dropped the knife and ran away, Reardon said. A neighbor witnessed the incident, before, during and after the stabbing.

Jackson avoided arrest until May 2007 when he turned himself in to Chicago Police after being featured on the WGN show “Fugitive Hunters,” Reardon said.

An autopsy June 14 ruled McCellan died of complications from multiple sharp-force injuries, the medical examiner’s office said. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The charge against Jackson was subsequently upgraded to first-degree murder. During Thursday’s hearing, Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set bond at $1 million.

On Thursday, Jackson was still in state custody for the initial conviction and his projected parole date was March 2031.

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