DNA found on cigarette butt, witness ID connects man to 2018 murder, prosecutors say
Damien McClellan, 20, was identified as one of two gunman who fatally shot 24-year-old Kenjuan Scott during an attempted carjacking, prosecutors said.
DNA collected from a cigarette butt has led to charges in a fatal shooting during an attempted carjacking more than three years ago in Englewood, Cook County prosecutors said.
Damien McClellan, 20, is facing a first-degree murder charge after the FBI matched his DNA profile to the cigarette butt and a witness identified him as one of two gunmen who killed Kenjuan Scott and wounded Scott’s girlfriend on Oct. 28, 2018, prosecutors said in a court hearing late last week.
Scott, 24, was driving a Porsche that he had borrowed from his cousin that morning and was driving around with his girlfriend and a friend when they pulled over in the 5500 block of South LaSalle Street to adjust the sports car’s hydraulic lift system, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
At the same time, an Audi headed in the same direction came from behind the Porsche and cut off the sports car so it couldn’t drive away.
McClellan, then 17 and armed with an assault rifle, got out of the Audi and he and another person opened fire, Murphy said.
Scott reversed the car when the shooting began but was struck in the head, crashed and later died, Murphy said. Scott’s 24-year-old girlfriend was struck in the leg. Their friend, who was seated in a rear seat, escaped injury.
Thirty shell casings from the rifle and a 9-mm handgun were recovered on the scene and no weapons were found in the Porsche, Murphy said.
Officers found the Audi abandoned later that day and learned it had been reported stolen days earlier in Libertyville. Shell casings and unfired cartridges inside the Audi matched the weapons used in the attack. Investigators also recovered a cigarette butt that the owner of the car said wasn’t his.
DNA testing was performed on the butt, which later matched McClellan’s profile in the FBI’s DNA database, according to Murphy, who did not say when the match was made.
Investigators showed a photo array to Scott’s friend and he identified McClellan as the person who had fired the rifle.
McClellan was arrested and charged on Thursday when he was released from the Shawnee Correctional Center, where he was serving time for an unrelated conviction, Murphy said.
An assistant public defender argued the cigarette butt didn’t prove McClellan participated in the shooting and questioned the strength of a witness’ identification of his client after so much time had passed.
Judge Maryam Ahmad agreed with prosecutors and ordered McClellan held without bail.
He was expected back in court June 16.