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Crime & Courts

Jury finds man guilty of 2017 unincorporated McHenry murder, burglary

A jury Thursday found a 46-year-old man guilty of murder in the death of Donald Jouravleff, who was shot during a May 27, 2017, burglary at his unincorporated McHenry home, prosecutors said.

After about four hours of deliberation, jurors found Adam C. Morris guilty of murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon and burglary. They also found him not guilty of home invasion and an additional count of murder that was contingent upon whether Morris intended for Jouravleff to die that morning.

His attorneys intend to appeal the convictions, defense attorney William Bligh said after court Thursday. Jouravleff’s wife, Donna Mills, declined to comment.

Early last week, Mills recounted the day two armed men entered her home, shot her husband and demanded cash from her home office. Jurors also heard from two additional men charged in connection with the shooting death.

Charles Campo, 33, and Jared Fox, 27, each accepted plea deals from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. Both men told jurors that Morris rushed the door and fired two shots at Jouravleff, who later died of complications from a gunshot wound.

Closing arguments Thursday were built around DNA evidence and testimony linked to the murder weapon – a black handgun, which belonged to Morris’ girlfriend at the time and bore his fingerprints. Morris instructed the woman to hide the murder weapon in a dumpster after the burglary, prosecutors said.

“Innocent people don’t have to hide the murder weapon in a murder they had no part of,” Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said.

Defense attorneys pointed to a discrepancy between Mills’ testimony and the physical evidence, however.

Mills testified earlier in the trial that a man had put a black gun to her head, while another man, who presumably shot her husband, had a silver gun. If Mills’ testimony was accurate, then Morris’ fingerprints on the black gun didn’t necessarily prove that he killed Jouravleff, Bligh said.

“If you believe that he shot the gun, you have to deny or disbelieve what Donna told you on the stand,” Bligh said to the jury.

Throughout her testimony, Mills cried as she told jurors how a masked man wearing gloves held a gun to her head. He and another “jumpy” man wearing a plastic mask then ordered her into her basement home office and demanded cash, she said.

Mills and her husband awoke early May 27, 2017, to what sounded like tapping at the door of their Davis Avenue home in unincorporated McHenry. Mills stayed upstairs in the master bedroom while her husband ran to the door. Moments later, she heard two gunshots and footsteps running up the stairs, she said.

“I thought I was going to get shot and killed,” Mills said.

Another man, Byron Howard, 37, also was charged in connection with the home invasion and shooting. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in April.

The incident began May 26, 2017, when Mills – the previous owner of A. Best Movers Inc. – met with a group of drivers and laborers in her home office, she said. Morris and four other workers were at the meeting in Mills’ basement, where she received about $3,000 from a driver for completed jobs, she said.

Later that evening after the meeting, Morris suggested burglarizing Mills’ house because he’d been working as a laborer for the woman’s moving company and hadn’t been paid in weeks, Fox and Campos testified.

“There was no fight. There was no struggle,” Freese said Thursday during closing arguments. “This was just a cold-blooded, senseless murder.”

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 3 in McHenry County court. Morris faces between 20 and 60 years in prison. He avoided an additional 25 years on top of whatever sentence he receives because jurors did not sign a form indicating that he personally fired the murder weapon.

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