‘Tragic outcome’: St. Clair County judge detains teenager accused of killing another teen

Seventeen-year-old Jahrie Samudio gave police “several” accounts of what happened just before another teenager was shot to death in Cahokia Heights, a St. Clair County prosecutor said Tuesday.

But there was one statement that stood out in a detention hearing conducted for Samudio on his first-degree murder charge: He admitted to shooting 19-year-old Daniel L. Nunn-Watson on March 23, according to St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Emmanuel.

Nunn-Watson, who was shot multiple times, was found in the 100 block of Melvin Drive. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was called to investigate his death.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Sara L. Rice ordered Samudio to remain in the St. Clair Juvenile Detention Center until his trial. She said the state presented “quite a bit of evidence” against Samudio and noted the shooting had a “tragic outcome.”

Samudio, who is from East St. Louis, is being charged as an adult but he is being held in the juvenile detention center because persons must be 18 to be held in the county jail. He sat quietly during the detention hearing and had brief conversations with his public defender.

Emmanuel told Rice that Samudio had posted threatening language on Instagram and that he was arrested following a “high-speed chase” in the East St. Louis area.

Police have said Samudio was arrested on March 26, three days after Nunn-Watson was killed.

During the chase, Samudio was driving a Honda and disregarded multiple stop signs, Emmanuel said. The pursuit was on several streets, including North 38th Street, State Street, North 59th Street, Lake Drive, North 33rd Street, Louisiana Boulevard and North 25th Street. At one point during the pursuit, Samudio fled on foot but was arrested, Emmanuel said.

St. Clair County Public Defender Cathy MacElroy, who represented Samudio in the hearing, asked Rice to order that Samudio be placed on electronic monitoring, but the judge declined that request.

In making her request, MacElroy noted Samudio’s age and that he does not have any prior convictions but does have two pending cases in juvenile court.

Samudio had a job at a fast-food restaurant and was living with his mother and brother, MacElroy said.

The detention hearing conducted for Samudio was part of the state’s new criminal justice system that began Sept. 18 when the cash-bail system ended. Since then, Illinois judges have conducted detention hearings to determine whether someone charged with serious offenses should remain in jail before their trial.

Nunn-Watson was reported missing to the Washington Park Police Department last month and his parents were distributing fliers asking for help in locating him when they learned that he had been found shot to death.

“He put his trust in everybody,” his mother Angelina Nunn-Watson previously told the Belleville News-Democrat. “He always saw good in everybody. He never saw bad in anyone. That was one of his weaknesses.”

Daniel Nunn-Watson’s uncle, Chris Hodges, told the BND that the family wants to know why his nephew was killed.

“It’s still a puzzle. Why? We want to be able to look at the person or people involved and let them know Daniel did not deserve this.’’

Daniel Nunn-Watson, who was found shot to death Saturday, March 23 in Cahokia Heights. Provided
Daniel Nunn-Watson, who was found shot to death Saturday, March 23 in Cahokia Heights. Provided

News-Democrat reporter Carolyn P. Smith contributed information for this article.