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B-N Defendant Rejects Final Plea Offer, Setting Up Murder Trial Next Week

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Amari McNabb turned down a final plea offer to murder charges on Thursday and told a judge he is ready for his trial to begin Monday on charges that could send him to prison for life in the 2019 shooting death of Juan Nash.

McNabb, 22, is charged with murder in connection with Nash’s death during an April 2019 block party in the 1200 block of Orchard Road in Bloomington.

Prosecutor Aaron Fredrick said the state offered McNabb an open plea agreement in which McNabb would plead guilty to a single count of murder for which he would be eligible for 20 to 60 years in prison. In exchange, the state would dismiss two other murder counts and a weapons charge.

Without the plea agreement, McNabb faces up to 60 years on the murder charge and 25 years to life as an enhanced sentence, if convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with the murder.

The limited time offer, said Fredrick, was available “today only.”

The prosecutor said McNabb turned down a similar offer in August 2020.

McNabb is the last of three defendants to face murder charges in Nash’s death.

Co-defendants Scotty Allen and Exodus Hebert have both been convicted of murder, with Allen serving 50 years and Hebert sentenced to 20 years for their roles in the shooting.

Twenty-four shots were fired during the incident, including 14 fired by Nash. After he was injured, Nash managed to drive a short distance before he crashed his car into a house.

Bloomington police crime analyst Jack McQueen testified during Allen’s trial that social media postings by Allen and others indicated a gang connection to the shooting. Allen is seen raising a hand gun, his face covered by a ski mask, in a music video prior to the shooting.

Defense lawyer Edward Johnson of Chicago filed notices on Friday of two expert witnesses the defense plans to call during McNabb's trial that may last two weeks.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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