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Crime & Courts

Testimony begins in 2017 McHenry home invasion, murder trial

Adam Morris, 46, of McCullom Lake
Adam Morris, 46, of McCullom Lake

Attorneys on Tuesday briefly summarized what prosecutors have called a McHenry couple’s “worst nightmare” – a morning home invasion in which one man was fatally shot before a group of masked men held his wife at gunpoint.

The trial began Monday for Adam Morris, a man who prosecutors believe shot and killed 52-year-old Donald Jouravleff in May 2017.

On Tuesday, jurors heard the panicked 911 call that Jouravleff’s wife, Donna Mills, made about 1 a.m. that day. The conversation was quick and frantic as Mills pleaded for someone to help her husband, who had been shot multiple times after answering a knock at the door of their Davis Avenue home.

“I’m afraid,” Mills told the 911 dispatcher. “I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid.”

Morris, of McCullom Lake; Byron Howard of Wonder Lake; Charles A. Campo of McHenry; and Jared J. Fox of Wonder Lake were arrested in June 2017 in connection with Jouravleff’s death.

Officials have said that Jouravleff later died from complications from a gunshot wound after being shot in the leg and neck that night.

Morris, the alleged shooter, entered the courtroom Tuesday in a white collared shirt tucked into a gray suit coat and pants. The 46-year-old has been in custody at the McHenry County Jail since June 20, 2017. He is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, home invasion, burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the incident.

Before jury selection began Monday, Morris rejected a plea deal from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The trial is expected to last two weeks and include testimony from Fox and Campo, who accepted deals from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

In exchange for each man’s testimony against Morris, prosecutors will dismiss the murder charges previously filed against Fox and Campos. Both men still will go to prison, although it’s unclear for how long.

Defense attorney Matthew Haiduk, who called Campo a “full-time dirtbag and part-time burglar,” has claimed that Fox and Campo were “really good friends” who conspired to pin Morris as the shooter.

“You’ll find that Adam Morris didn’t pull the trigger and didn’t kill anybody,” Haiduk said.

Testimony began Tuesday with statements from police and two of the couple’s neighbors. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday in McHenry County court.

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