DECATUR — James “Nate” Nathaniel Johnson, a former MacArthur High School student, was shot to death late Sunday in an apartment in the Old King’s Orchard neighborhood.
Johnson, who marked his 20th birthday the previous Sunday, died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Monday afternoon.
Shots were fired after assailants gained entry to the apartment, said Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day in a news release.
First-degree murder warrants were obtained within hours of the shooting for two brothers with extensive criminal histories.
James J. Chatman, 45, was arrested Monday morning by Decatur police and U.S. Marshals. He is being held in the Macon County Jail on a $5 million bond.
His brother, 43-year-old Anthony L. Chatman, was arrested at about 7 p.m. Monday in the 1700 block of North Woodford Street. No other information about his arrest was available Monday night.
The shooting death is the first homicide of the year in Decatur.
Police were sent at 11:18 p.m. Sunday to a second-floor apartment on the 1100 block of North College Street. By the time emergency personnel arrived, it was determined that the victim had already died.
The cause of death was determined by the autopsy to be a single gunshot wound, which passed through Johnson’s heart, left lung, diaphragm and liver.
A woman who lives near the crime scene said she knew the victim, who was well-known and liked in the neighborhood. She said he was a friend of the residents of the apartment where he was slain.
“He was a real cool dude, real funny,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. “He didn’t deserve that. It was just senseless. He was a good kid.”
Another neighbor said many people visited the occupants of that building.
“They liked to keep a lot of company,” she said.
The Chatman brothers have each been convicted of numerous crimes, with their strings of offenses beginning more than two decades ago.
Anthony Chatman has served eight prison terms, beginning with a one-year sentence for a 1988 mob action case, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. His convictions include a felon possessing/using a firearm in 1992; two convictions for aggravated battery/great bodily harm, in 1992 and ’97; and three narcotics convictions in 1988, ’91 and ’08. He was most recently released from prison on Sept. 22, 2011.
Anthony Chatman had 10 felonies and 97 court cases between 1991 and 2007, according to the Macon County Circuit Clerk’s website.
James Chatman, also known as Tony Taylor, has served five prison terms. He had eight felony cases and 45 total cases between 1992 and 2009.
He was initially sent to prison in 1990 for four years for attempted burglary. James Chatman served additional sentences for robbery, attempted robbery, possession of contraband in prison and obstructing justice. He was most recently discharged from prison on May 6, 2010.