Man charged with murder hauled from courtroom after fighting with deputies

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Cook County’s Leighton Criminal Court building. | Sun-Times files

A man facing a first-degree murder charge in a September shooting in the Washington Park neighborhood yelled and fought with deputies as he was led into a courtroom Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Jamel Nelson, 22, is also charged with attempted first-degree murder in the shooting, which wounded a 42-year-old man and resulted in the death of 34-year-old Charles Fenner, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

As Nelson was brought into the courtroom for his bail hearing, he began shouting and struggling with sheriff’s deputies who were leading him into the room.

“I do not have court today, why are you bringing me in here?” Nelson repeatedly yelled as he was brought into the room.

He continued to struggle with the deputies, spun away from them and launched himself toward a table where defense attorneys were seated. At least six deputies were required to restrain him.

“You all are violating my rights,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Jamel Nelson | Chicago police

Jamel Nelson | Chicago police

Deputies picked his legs up off the floor while others held his torso and Judge John F. Lyke Jr. ordered Nelson removed from the courtroom. After a brief pause in the proceedings, Lyke inquired if Nelson wanted to be brought back or if he would agree to talk with his court-appointed defense attorney.

Ultimately, Lyke said Nelson has forfeited his opportunity to attend the hearing due to his behavior.

Nelson is accused of shooting the two men about 5:20 p.m. Sept. 7 in the 5100 block of South Calumet Avenue, according to Chicago police and Assistant State’s Attorney Jamison Berger.

The older man had parked in the block and was talking to Fenner through the driver’s side window as he stood outside the vehicle when gunfire erupted from a Chevrolet Malibu that had pulled up behind them, Berger said. Fenner, who was seated in the front passenger seat, was shot in the head. The older man was struck in the back.

Both were taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where Fenner was pronounced dead and the older man was listed in serious condition, according to police.

Prosecutors said four 9 mm cartridge casings fired from the gun were recovered at the scene. A review of cell tower records showed Nelson’s phone was in the “immediate area” at the time of the shooting and a surveillance camera recorded the Malibu in the area about the time of the shooting.

Later that night, police found the Malibu parked in a handicapped parking space with Nelson in the front passenger seat, Berger said. Nelson was taken into custody when he was found in possession of marijuana. A 9 mm round was also found in the car.

In lockup, detectives attempted to conduct a gunshot residue test on Nelson, but he resisted and caused two detectives to be injured, Berger said. Nelson was then charged with aggravated battery to a police officer. He was released on Sept. 11 after posting $2,000 bond and was ordered to submit to electronic monitoring. When he failed to appear at a subsequent court date on Sept. 14, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nelson was located Tuesday and taken back into custody, according to police records.

Nelson’s attorney could not provide information about his client during the hearing because he did not have the opportunity to talk with Nelson, he said.

Judge Lyke ordered Nelson held without bail and set his next hearing on the charges for Oct. 18 where his bail could be re-examined.

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