4 teens charged with murder after cab driver found shot, killed

Mark A. Taylor (Source: Mt. Vernon Police Department)
Mark A. Taylor (Source: Mt. Vernon Police Department)
Demandre D. Black (Source: Mt. Vernon Police Department)
Demandre D. Black (Source: Mt. Vernon Police Department)
Charles Ellis
Charles Ellis
Demondros Q. James (Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)
Demondros Q. James (Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Four teens face murder charges for the shooting death of a taxi cab driver in Mt. Vernon.

Demondros Q. James, 18, of Mt. Vernon, Christopher A. Wells, 15, of Mt. Vernon, Demandre D. Black, 18, of Swansea, and Mark Anthony Taylor Jr., 18, of Mt. Vernon are all charged with three alternative counts of first degree murder.

Family and friends mourn the loss of a 75-year-old Charles Ellis from Mount Vernon. Police were called to 6th Street and Bell Street just before 1:30 Tuesday morning.

For years Ellis drove a taxi for American Cab Company in Mount Vernon. Owner Guy Henry says Ellis never missed a day of work.  Henry says they first learned something was wrong from a driver with United Taxi.

David Gordon says his brother was that driver. Gordon says his brother noticed Ellis' cab sitting at 6th and Bell and went to check on him.

"He hurried up and dropped off his customers and when he came back that when he heard the shots going off and seen the two guys jump out of the back seat," Gordon said.

Police were called to 6th Street and Bell Street just before 1:30 Tuesday morning. Michelle Bowden lives in the area and says she also heard the gun shots.

"The police came about 15-20 minutes later and they had the street right here at 6th and Bell cornered off and they had reported that a man was shot," Bowden said.

Hours later police arrested 18 year old Mark Taylor, 18 year old Demandre Black and a 15 year old for their alleged involvement in Ellis's death. Jail records show Taylor and Black were arrested on the charge of murder with intent to kill. The Jefferson County Coroner says the preliminary autopsy report shows Ellis died from a signal gun shot.

"It's a tragedy that had to happen because the man was known around here for years. He was well liked," Bowden said.

Michelle Baker worked with Ellis at American Cab. She says his death is a terrible loss, but it doesn't scare her to drive a cab.

"You take a chance any time, any job, it can happen anywhere," Baker said.  "We've just been through a big loss, and it's sad for his family."

The Jefferson County State's Attorney says she has seen the preliminary police reports and plans to file formal charges Wednesday.

This is the second death of a cab driver in Mt. Vernon in just two days.

The coroner says 55-year-old Marcia Karnes died Monday morning when she lost control of her taxi and hit a power pole.

The coroner says her death is also being investigated and her autopsy was also scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Bond was set at $3 million for each defendant.

A preliminary hearing is set for Black, James, and Taylor Jr. on June 23 at 1:30 p.m.  A preliminary hearing for Wells is set for June 28 at 9:30 a.m.

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