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Man charged with killing weed dealer in Brainerd

Cortez McGary told detectives he shot 32-year-old Lesean Long in self-defense when Long lifted up his shirt and exposed a small handgun in his waistband.

Cook County Criminal Courts, 2601 S. California Blvd.
The Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Sun-Times file

A man was ordered held on $2 million cash bond Thursday for allegedly killing a weed dealer who owed him a half pound of marijuana.

Cortez McGary told detectives he shot 32-year-old Lesean Long in self-defense after Long lifted up his shirt and exposed a small handgun in his waistband as they talked outside Long’s girlfriend’s Brainerd home on Feb. 28, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

McGary also said Long owed him a half-pound of marijuana, Murphy said.

Officers responding to shots fired that day saw McGary as he sped away from the scene in a gold Chrysler Pacifica, but he refused to pull over and escaped, Murphy said.

Long was found unresponsive in the 9100 block of South Emerald Avenue and pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, authorities said.

Three .40-caliber shell casings were recovered at the scene.

McGary allegedly used the same gun during an armed robbery a little less than a month later on March 17. In that incident, the victim suffered a graze wound when McGary fired a shot, Murphy said.

That victim managed to wrestle the gun away from McGary, who dropped his cellphone in the process, Murphy said. McGary then allegedly fled in the same gold Chrysler.

McGary was taken into custody four days later after he was pulled over for a traffic violation while driving the Chrysler, Murphy said.

He was charged with attempted murder and armed robbery for the March incident and later released from Cook County Jail after posting $20,000 bond, Murphy said.

When officers attempted to place McGary under arrest Wednesday for Long’s murder, he jumped from a third-floor window in an attempt to escape, breaking multiple bones when he landed, Murphy said.

McGary remained hospitalized Thursday and did not appear at his bond hearing.

Judge Susana Ortiz, meanwhile, approved prosecutors’ request to revoke McGary’s bail for a pending fleeing and eluding case he was on bond for at the time of Long’s murder.

If McGary can post his bond in his murder case, Ortiz said she’d recommend that he be placed electronic monitoring while he awaits trial.

McGary is expected back in court July 15.