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1st degree murder charge dropped against James Love in Galva shooting death

Love is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.

GALESBURG, Illinois -- A grand jury in Knox County dropped 1st degree murder charges that were leveled at James E. Love, the Galva man who shot 18-year-old Xavier Hartman to death following a one-car traffic accident on June 19.

Initially, the Knox County State's Attorney's office had charged Love with 1st degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. Last week's grand jury decision reduced the murder charge to involuntary manslaughter, which carries a possible prison sentence of two to five years. Love does still face the Class X felony charge of aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. Aggravated battery with a firearm carries a sentence of six to 30 years upon a conviction.

According to court documents, that charge alleges that Love “acting in a reckless manner, performed an act likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, in that he shot Xavier Hartman in the leg, thereby causing the death of Xavier Hartman.”

The initial police report from the incident in which Hartman was killed stated that Love and Hartman had a confrontation at the accident site. In the confrontation, Love received a head wound which required stitches while Hartman was shot in the femoral artery by Love. Police say Hartman was unarmed at the time.

Love is out on bond and has a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday, July 17.