DANVILLE — An 18-year-old Danville man was formally charged Monday in the death of a St. Joseph woman who was found unresponsive earlier this month in a Danville motel room.
Henry D. Graham was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of obstruction of justice in the Jan. 3 death of Tara Jackson.
Wearing a gray hoodie, Graham appeared at his hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court via video conference. Associate Judge Karen Wall read him the charges, in which prosecutors said he allegedly performed the acts that caused Ms. Jackson's death, among other things, and wiped down her vehicle.
Graham looked nonchalant throughout the hearing, including when Wall told him that if convicted of murder, he could be sentenced to 20 to 60 years in prison, or 60 to 100 years under an extended term, and if convicted of obstruction of justice, he could face one to three years, or three to six years under an extended term.
Graham told Wall he plans to hire a private attorney.
Vermilion County State's Attorney Jacqueline Lacy asked Wall to set Graham's bond at $7 million, saying that he and Ms. Jackson knew each other and had an "intermittent personal relationship."
Lacy said on Jan. 2, Graham and Ms. Jackson rented a room at the Super 8 Motel in Danville. On Jan. 3, the motel's cleaning staff found Ms. Jackson unresponsive in the room, with a pillow over her face.
Lacy said an autopsy showed Ms. Jackson died of "manual strangulation and smothering with evidence of pressure on the neck and over the face," and that Graham made statements to police implicating himself in Ms. Jackson's death.
Lacy also pointed out that Graham has a criminal history as a juvenile dating back to 2014. It includes serving time in the Juvenile Department of Corrections for robbery.
Wall set Graham's bond at $5 million, meaning he must post $500,000 in order to be released.
His next court appearance is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 18.