Man charged with shooting 2 in Huntley home pleads not guilty to attempted murder, faces decades in prison if convicted

Lewis McCracken was on the run from police; one shooting victim later dies in a rehabilitation facility

Inset of Lewis C. McCracken in front of Northwest Herald file photo of the McHenry County courthouse.

A man accused of shooting two men in a Huntley home in July – one who later died – before fleeing the country and then being captured in Pennsylvania pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder.

Lewis McCracken, 27, of Elgin, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of home invasion and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, each a Class X felony.

He also is charged with residential burglary, aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of firearms by a felon and aggravated battery.

Because McCracken may be eligible for extended term sentencing of up to 60 years on at least two of the class X felonies he is charged with, additional prison time of 15 to 25 years is possible due to the involvement of a gun and each sentence must be served consecutively, he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

After McHenry County Judge James Cowlin read off each charge and explained the potential sentencing ranges, he asked McCracken whether he understood, to which McCracken replied, “Yes sir, I do.”

Cowlin also granted McCracken, who is being held in the McHenry County jail without bond, two non-collect phone calls.

Prosecutors allege that at about 4:30 a.m. July 18, McCracken, armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, allegedly was driven by another person to a home in the Wing Pointe subdivision, according to a motion earlier this month asking McCracken be held without bond.

McCracken was going to confront a 29-year-old man who lived in the home in connection with an earlier altercation in Elgin, prosecutors said in the motion.

McCracken “pounded” on the door and a woman, who was older than 60, answered and then tried to shut the door on him to prevent him from coming inside. But, McCracken pushed his way in and “pistol-whipped” the woman, prosecutors said.

Hearing the commotion, the 29-year-old and a 68-year-old man, Mark Wahlstedt, who was armed with a .380-caliber handgun, ran from upstairs and McCracken allegedly fired his gun at them, prosecutors said.

Wahlstedt never fired his handgun, prosecutors said.

Both men were struck by bullets and each initially was treated at a local hospital for their wounds. The 29-year-old recovered from his wounds, but Wahlstedt later died at a rehabilitation facility in Lake County in October, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said.

Kenneally has said it is not yet decided whether charges would be upgraded to murder. However, Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton said he did not think Wahlstedt’s death was caused by the shooting, but instead by underlying conditions he had been diagnosed with prior to the shooting.

It also was unclear Monday whether charges would be filed against the unidentified person who drove McCracken to the Huntley home.

Shortly after the shooting, McCracken and the driver allegedly were involved in a carjacking in Bartlett. It then was thought that McCracken had fled to California, Huntley police said at the time.

McCracken was captured in September following a nearly two-hour standoff at a home in Donora, Pennsylvania. He was back to McHenry County earlier this month.

Prosecutors said he had fled to Mexico before traveling to Pennsylvania.

McCracken, who is due back in court Feb. 16, has a felony record dating back to the age of 17, according to records in Kane County.