JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, HILLSDALE COUNTY - The suspect in the murder of a Hillsdale County man is captured in Illinois. James Wesley McKinney, 49, was arrested at approximately 10:30 Monday morning at a homeless shelter in DeKalb County, Illinois. Hillsdale County Sheriff's Office deputies say they believe McKinney shot and killed 71-year-old James Thomas Harper some time last week. Harper's body was discovered Saturday in his home in the 7300 block of East Reading Road in Jefferson Township. He had a gunshot wound to his head. McKinney was a suspect from the beginning. He had lived with Harper for some time, Harper's min-van was missing, and McKinney's p personal belongings were gone from the house.
The suspect McKinney had already been arrested by law enforcement officers and released before Harper's body was even discovered. Friday morning at 4:30am, McKinney was pulled over by a deputy of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. He was arrested for driving while license suspended and obstruction of Justice. McKinney was in the victim's car and tried to use Harper's name, leading to the charge of obstruction. Inside the car were several firearms. The car was impounded and the firearms confiscated. McKinney was let out of jail on a personal recognizance bond that same Friday.
Investigators from the Hillsdale County sheriff's office learned all this after doing a computer check. They called DeKalb County, and had their deputies try to find McKinney. McKinney was located at a DeKalb County homeless shelter, just before he was to leave.
McKinney is being held on three felony warrants: homicide, unlawful driving away a vehicle and felony firearms. He'll be held in Illinois until extradition can be arranged.