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Man accused of trying to a hire hitman to kill prosecutor, witness in pending murder case

Trevon Clark, 21, is accused of strangling Karalynn McNicholas, whose body was found last year behind a Chicago Lawn home.

Trevon Clark in his 2018 arrest photo
Trevon Clark
Chicago police

A 21-year-old man accused of strangling a woman in 2018 was charged Tuesday with trying to hire a hitman to kill an assistant state’s attorney and a witness in the case.

Trevon Clark was led into Judge John F. Lyke’s courtroom wearing a yellow Department of Corrections jumpsuit, his hands and legs shackled. Clark was charged with two counts of solicitation of first-degree murder.

“This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever heard,” Lyke said before denying Clark bail on the most recent charges.

Clark has been jailed since August on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Karalynn McNicholas, who was found strangled last year in the backyard of a Chicago Lawn home.

While being held at Cook County Jail, Clark asked another detainee for help killing a prosecutor assigned to his case and a key witness, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said during Clark’s hearing Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

The other detainee gave Clark a phone number, which Clark called June 13 and was connected with a man he thought was a hitman but really was an undercover sheriff’s police officer, Santini said.

Last week, Clark met with the undercover officer at a jail visiting room and showed the officer a piece of paper with the word “state’s attorney” and a physical description of the prosecutor assigned to his case, Santini said. The paper also included the name of a “key witness” in the McNicholas case, a description of the person and where they could be found, Santini said.

Karalynn McNicholas | Chicago Police
Karalynn McNicholas
Chicago police

The undercover officer explained to Clark that what he was asking “wasn’t a joke,” and told Clark “I kill people, you understand?,” Santini said.

“I already know,” Clark replied, according to prosecutors.

They agreed to a price of “five stacks” — $5,000 — for the murders, with Clark telling the officer he could pay the money when he was released with the proceeds of a roadside assistance company he would be starting.

Prosecutors have previously said Clark started a roadside assistance company using McNicholas’ car after he killed her. McNicholas’ car was found near Clark’s home last August, modified with reflective stickers, light strips and an oscillating light on the roof, prosecutors said.

McNicholas met Clark through the internet. They agreed to meet in person on May 4, 2018, near Clark’s home in the 6400 block of South Francisco Avenue, Santini told a judge last year during Clark’s initial hearing on the murder charge.

Prosecutors allege when they met again May 10, 2018, McNicholas and Clark got into an argument in the basement of his home, which led to him strangle McNicholas and later place her body in the back of her car.

Prosecutors said a witness had seen Clark strangle McNicholas and then drove with Clark to the 6600 block of South Maplewood Avenue, where Clark left her body in the backyard of a home. Her body was discovered the next morning by a resident.

Clark pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in McNicholas’ death, according to court records.

An assistant public defender declined to comment after the hearing Tuesday.

The state’s attorney’s office is coordinating with law enforcement to ensure safety for both targets of the alleged plot, a spokeswoman said.