Crime & Courts

Teen charged with New Lenox murder moved to Will County jail after turning 18

Kevin Johnson

A Harvey teen charged with the killing of a 19-year-old who was shot in the back in New Lenox was transferred to the Will County jail after he turned 18.

Kevin Johnson was moved from River Valley Juvenile Detention Center to the jail Thursday, the day he turned 18.

Johnson is being held on a $2.5 million bond. His next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Johnson was 16 when he was charged with fatally shooting Charles Baird of New Lenox on May 11, 2020, at the Circle K gas station, 471 N. Nelson Road, and fleeing the scene in a stolen Hyundai Santa Fe, New Lenox police officials said.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the time of the incident, the stolen vehicle was driven to the Circle K gas station May 11 and pulled up to a pump across from Baird’s vehicle, New Lenox police officials said.

While Baird was inside the gas station, an occupant from the Santa Fe tried to open the door to Baird’s Subaru, but it was locked and he returned to the Santa Fe, police said.

Baird then left the gas station and was approached by a second person, who pointed a handgun at him, police said. After a brief exchange of words, Baird turned and began to run, but he was shot in the back, police said.

The shooter then ran back to the Santa Fe and the vehicle fled the area, police said.

Baird was located by officers inside the gas station, taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, then transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said. He died May 13 at the hospital.

Police identified Johnson as the suspect responsible for Baird’s death and learned Johnson was being held at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center on an unrelated case.

When Johnson’s arrest was announced, New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said there hadn’t been a homicide in the village since August 2000.

Baldermann said the case concerning Baird’s death was a “long, drawn-out investigation” that involved numerous agencies and required a “great deal of evidence processing, interviews and statements that were taken.”