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Local News

Channahon Township man gets murder charges, $1M bail in fatal party shooting case

James F. Hess
James F. Hess

JOLIET – A Channahon Township man has been charged with murder in the Friday shooting of a recent parolee at a party.

Judge Art Smigielski on Monday ordered James F. Hess be held at the Will County jail on $1 million bond. Hess, 65, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Nathan A. Hoflkamp and faces a sentence of life in prison.

Hess lived with Hofkamp's mother in the 25000 block of Canal Road. On Friday, Hofkamp, 29, was released from the Vienna Correction Center, where he'd been serving time for 2016 convictions for theft and aggravated assault in Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

"There was a party at the residence and the party got rowdy," Will County Assistant State's Attorney Chris Messina told Smiegielski. "[Hess] came up from the basement with a gun to quiet them down and shot the victim."

Hess, who appeared via video from the county jail, hesitantly gave his name for the record when the judge asked and replied with a blank, "Yes," when Smigielski asked if he understood he must appear in court if he is released on bail.

Defense attorneys Edward Masters and Patricia Kalkanis were in court to represent Hess. Masters said Hess' two sisters and daughter were willing to contribute toward his bail.

"His only prior [criminal record] is from a family situation unrelated to this situation," Masters said.

Court records show Hess has battery and vandalism cases from 2009 to 2011.

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