Second teen charged with murdering retired Chicago police bomb squad member

Larry Neuman and surveillance images released by CPD showing the murder suspects. (@CPDBombSquad, Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — Room 100 at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California can be an emotional place. It’s where most people accused of felonies in Chicago make their first court appearances to learn if they will be released from custody and, if so, under what conditions.

Family members show up sometimes to support their loved ones. There seemed to be a few more supporters than most days during Saturday’s session.

But nobody in the gallery stood up to show support for Marquan Jones. The 17-year-old was going it alone, save for his assistant public defender, as prosecutors accused him of murdering Larry Neuman, the 73-year-old retired Chicago police officer who served on the city’s bomb squad longer than anyone in history.

Assistant State’s Attorney Eugene Wood laid out the state’s allegations against Jones. The details were essentially identical to the story told by Wood’s colleague during a detention hearing earlier this week for Jones’ co-defendant, 16-year-old Lazarious Watt.

Jones and Watt went to school together, Wood said, and at least five people from their school and neighborhood recognized them in surveillance images of the murder suspects.

Around 11:30 a.m. on June 22, Neuman was in the process of paying someone who helped him mow his lawn in the 4300 block of West Monroe when he saw two figures emerge from behind a parked car wearing ski masks.

The retired officer warned the person he was with about what was happening as Jones stepped to within feet of the men, prosecutors said.

“Freeze,” Jones allegedly ordered as he tried to grab Neuman. The retired officer backed up and reached for his own firearm as Jones shot him twice, once in the chest and once in the leg, according to prosecutors.

Neuman, gravely wounded, fired off one round and collapsed. Neuman’s wife found her husband lying on the ground.

Chicago police investigators collected a trove of video showing Watt and Jones leaving Watt’s home and walking around the neighborhood before the murder, prosecutors said. Someone who knows Jones allegedly crossed paths with the two boys as they ran from the murder scene.

Wood, the prosecutor, said that Jones had a criminal trespassing case pending in juvenile court and added that the state’s attorney’s office was “looking at him” in a robbery case.

Jones’ court file, however, suggests that he crossed paths with the court system long before the criminal trespassing matter that Wood mentioned. His “Individual Record Number,” a number assigned to a person when they are first arrested in Illinois that is linked to their fingerprints, was issued in March 2021, at the age of 14. But juvenile records are sealed and cannot be accessed by the public.

His public defender on Saturday, Anthony Wingfield, said Jones’ lawyer in the criminal trespassing case arranged for his surrender to police. According to Wingfield, Jones lives with his mother, attends high school, and volunteers at a soup kitchen.

Judge Shauna Boliker detained Jones because he posed a public safety risk.

On Second City Cop, a long-running blog dedicated to Chicago policing matters, Neuman was remembered well in a recent post:

A US Marine, veteran of the Vietnam War, we believe the first African American bomb tech in Chicago, Color Guard Sergeant for the Pipes and Drums, and after retiring continued teaching bomb techs at both airports. He was also an ordained minister at the church located in the 011th District near where he lived and was accosted.

We met Larry many times and a kinder gentleman you’d be lucky to run across. His contact number is still in our cell phone. That he remained in the community long after retiring is a testament to his dedication to service – in the military, in the police department and in his church.

God bless you and your family Larry. You will be missed.

About Tim Hecke 363 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com