OLNEY, IL — A 19-year-old Olney man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Richland County Court to the shooting death last year of 19-year-old Kyle M. Johnson on an Olney street. Rick Meador and his then 16-year-old girlfriend were arrested three weeks later in Florida after first fleeing to Mt. Vernon where their vehicle was located shortly after the shooting.

Both were returned to Illinois and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Johnson’s death. Three others would later be charged in connection with the crime, including the girlfriend’s 34-year-old mother Tara Haws and 33-year-old Dale Boatman Jr., — both of whom have been charged with multiple counts first-degree murder.

Johnson was found September 6, 2020, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at an intersection in Olney. He was taken to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. A manhunt led investigators to Mt. Vernon where the vehicle Meador and his girlfriend were believed to be driving was found abandoned.

A 44-year-old Mt. Vernon woman Misty Whipple was later charged with felony aiding a fugitive for allegedly renting a van that was used to take the young couple to Florida, with the intent to help them escape the law.

On Tuesday Meador pleaded guilty to one of four counts first-degree murder and facing a prison term of between 20 and 50 years when he’s sentenced. The case is now scheduled for a January 27, 2022, status hearing on that sentencing.