Attorneys for James E. McGhee Jr., 40, argued police officers assigned to the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team lacked probable cause and sufficient exigent circumstances for the search of McGhee’s cellphone data and violated the client’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. McGhee has pleaded not guilty to murder in the homicide of 27-year-old Sidne-Nichole Buchanan, who disappeared after attending a Wiz Khalifa concert with McGhee on July 27, 2019, in Tinley Park.
CROWN POINT — A Lake Criminal Court magistrate on Monday denied a Hammond man’s motion to suppress cellphone data seized in a warrantless search by police, who were investigating the disappearance of a woman the defendant was later charged with murdering.
A friend of McGhee led police to Buchanan’s body Aug. 12, 2019, at the Thornton-Lansing Road Nature Preserve in unincorporated Cook County, according to court records.
Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan presided over a series of evidentiary hearings on McGhee’s motion to suppress. In an order filed Monday, Judge Diane Boswell adopted Sullivan’s recommendation to deny McGhee’s motion.
The friend, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, told police McGhee admitted he “lost it” and beat Buchanan to death, documents state.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Infinity Westberg wrote in court filings police reasonably believed Buchanan “was in need of immediate medical or police assistance” and could have been being held against her will by McGhee, who had a history of domestic violence charges and was the last person seen with.