Three suspects who were arrested last week in connection with the shooting death of 24-year-old Billy J. Rutherford were each charged Thursday with three counts of first-degree murder. Documents released by the Macon County State's Attorney's Office after the filings revealed details of the homicide, including possible motives.
J. Cook, 15, was arraigned Thursday morning on his charges, punishable by up to life imprisonment.
He also was charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm for a shotgun attack on a motorcyclist who Cook mistakenly believed to be Rutherford.
Felton T. Estes, 28, and Demeco D. Hill, 35, are each facing 20 to 60 years in prison, with a 15-year enhancement for carrying a firearm during the crime. Estes and Hill are due in Macon County Circuit Court this morning for their arraignments.
On his first-degree murder charges, Cook is facing 20 to 60 years plus 25 years to life for shooting a firearm that was the proximate cause of death. If it can be proved that an individual personally fired a firearm that is a cause of a death, the larger enhancement of 25 to life is filed.
Cook allegedly admitted to police that he shot Rutherford with a shotgun.
According to Illinois law, defendants who are 15 and older are automatically tried as adults when charged with first-degree murder or any charges arising out of the same incident.