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Charges announced in Cherry Valley homicide

ROCKFORD – The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office on Thursday announced multiple counts of murder against a suspect they say killed a man outside CherryVale Mall earlier this year.

Devin L. Stevenson, 34, is charged with 12 counts of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated
discharge of a firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Authorities say on Feb. 23, Stevenson shot and killed DeKalb resident Ricky Smith, the 31-year-old driver of a vehicle found crashed into a light pole on South Mall Drive near Macy’s entrance.

“CherryVale Mall is an important part of our community,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said at a press conference Thursday morning. “Law enforcement, Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and the leaders of this community are not going to allow the safety or the well being of the CherryVale Mall to be challenged. Any individual who challenges the safety of the CherryVale Mall or any other location in our community will be held accountable.”

Police say the shooting was a  “drive-behind,” that Stevenson shot Smith from an SUV that was following behind his vehicle. The shooting was investigated by the Cherry Valley Police and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is the hard work of the Cherry Valley Police and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department that produced the successful results as we send the clear message that the mall is important to us, the community is important to us, and (that) we will not allow that to be challenged,” Bruscato added.

First-degree murder is a Class M felony punishable by 20-60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of parole.

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class 1 felony punishable by a sentence of 4-15 years in prison and two years of parole. Unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon is a Class 2 felony with sentencing range of 3-14 years.

Stevenson is in the Winnebago County Jail on a $7.75 million bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 26. R.

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