Man, 30, arrested in North Lawndale slaying after stepping out of downstate prison

While incarcerated on a gun conviction, Devon Harper allegedly admitted to an unrelated fatal shooting in 2020. He was arrested Friday when he was paroled from the Menard Correctional Center.

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Bail was denied Sunday for a 30-year-old man who was charged with fatally shooting another man in North Lawndale in September 2020.

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After serving less than a year for an illegal gun conviction, a 30-year-old man was arrested Friday while leaving a downstate prison and charged with first-degree murder in an unrelated fatal shooting in North Lawndale nearly two years ago.

During his initial court hearing Sunday, prosecutors said Devon Harper admitted to the Sept. 20, 2020, attack when investigators from Chicago interviewed him earlier this year while he was still incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Harper allegedly told the detectives that he gunned down 46-year-old Myrio Shields because he believed Shields had killed his friend two months earlier.

Devon Harper

Devon Harper

Illinois Department of Corrections

As Shields sat in the driver’s seat of a Dodge Challenger in the 3900 block of West Roosevelt Road, Harper jumped out of a Ford Explorer and shot him in the chest and arm, prosecutors said. Shields tried to drive off but crashed into another vehicle a few blocks away, injuring the other driver and a pedestrian.

He was then rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead, prosecutors said.

Harper ran through a gas station after the shooting, then got back into the Explorer and threw a hooded sweatshirt into a donation bin, prosecutors said. Detectives later recovered the sweatshirt, which was emblazoned with an image of Marilyn Monroe, and found it tested positive for gunshot residue. 

Surveillance footage captured the shooting and showed Harper was wearing the sweatshirt when he opened fire, prosecutors said. The Explorer was registered to his girlfriend, who has since given birth to their child.

Prosecutors said Harper identified several still photographs pulled from the surveillance footage when he spoke to the detectives, including images that showed him getting out of the Explorer with the sweatshirt. 

Harper was previously sentenced to probation three times after he was separately convicted of a felony drug charge and misdemeanor counts of aggravated assault and domestic battery.

He was then arrested last February — just over four months after the fatal shooting — for illegally possessing a gun, prosecutors said. He was sentenced last July to three years in prison in that case, according to Cook County court records.

IDOC records show he was granted parole from Menard Correctional Center on Friday, when prosecutors said Area 4 detectives took him into custody. 

Harper’s public defender, Mark Joslyn, described his client as an unemployed high school graduate. Joslyn said Harper’s claim that he carried out the shooting in response to another slaying suggests “a self-defense motive,” but he didn’t explain how.

Citing the extensive video evidence and Harper’s own admissions, Judge Maryam Ahmad said he poses a threat to public safety and ordered him held without bail.

His next court date was set for July 5.

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