The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Year Starts Off With La Harpe Murder

by Hoffman, The HawkEye & Dessa Rodeffer The Quill

La Harpe- A 17-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with a New Year's Eve shooting in Hancock County that left a La Harpe woman dead in her home.

Madison Finch, 19, was shot to death at her residence near the corner of Conch Drive and Terre Haute Road in north LaHarpe either late Sunday or early Monday, according to Jason Pohren, an Illinois state's attorney based in Carthage.

A press release issued by his office Tuesday morning said the 17-year-old suspect was taken into custody in connection with the shooting. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery.

The 17 year old appeared in court at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage. Public defender Kameron Miller was appointed to represent him. He remains in the Hancock County jail with no bail set. His next court appearance is set for Jan. 23.

Authorities said the girl was shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber handgun.

The victim, who was a freshman at Illinois University, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspect fled the scene before police arrived. Authorities did not say how or where the suspect was arrested but court records show he was arrested at 3:27 p.m. January 1.

The Hancock County State's Attorney's Office filed various charges against the defendant and (prosecutors) asked the court that the matter be transferred to (adult) criminal court which was allowed.

"Due to the nature of this case, the Hancock County State's Attorney's Office and law enforcement will not make any further comments on the matter (at this time)," according to Pohren's statement.

Specific details of the shooting and subsequent arrest of the suspect have not been released. Pohren's statement did not say if additional arrests could be made in connection with the shooting.

Investigators have not revealed a motive for the shooting but an unverified account said there was a fight and Maddie was trying to break up the fight which had moved to the garage.

According to authorities, police and emergency crews were dispatched to the residence about 1:30 a.m. Monday, where a New Year's Eve party was being held. During the party, an argument ensued and at least one shot was fired, killing the woman.

People in the area where the shooting occurred said several vehicles were towed from the scene by law enforcement following the shooting. Yellow police tape was used to cordon off the residence.

On January 2nd, the Judge ordered that the 17 year old, was to be incarcerated at the Hancock County jail pending trial and the minor shall be kept separate from confined adults and no bail has been set.

The cause is continued to the hour of 2:30 pm. January 23 where the state's motion for extended jurisdiction and clarification of sentencing as an adult will be heard.