Zion Teen Charged as an Adult in Shooting Death of Young Mother

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Lake County State's Attorneys Office


Dec. 23, 2021


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Newton
(224) 374-2376



Zechariah C. Myles

Zion Teen Charged as an Adult in Shooting Death of Young Woman

(Lake County, IL) - A Zion teenager was arraigned Wednesday on first-degree murder charges stemming from the killing of a 23-year-old Zion mother who was struck with a stray bullet. 

Zechariah C. Myles, 16, is charged as an adult with six counts of first-degree murder in the death of Melanie Yates, who was in her home with her infant child and not believed to have been targeted, according to investigators. 

On Oct. 17, at approximately 9 p.m., Zion Police Officers were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 block of Enoch Avenue, Zion, for a report of shots fired.  Officers arrived and located evidence indicating several shots were fired near the residential street. Myles fled the area before police arrived.  

Zion requested the assistance of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. Following an extensive investigation, detectives determined that Myles exited his home and fatally shot Yates while shooting a rifle at another individual.  

After detectives presented their evidence to supervisors from the State’s Attorney’s Office, murder charges were approved, and an arrest warrant was issued. 

State’s Attorney Rinehart stated, “we will seek justice for the Yates family in the courtroom; we will pursue a sentence that deters others from entering a life of violence; we will seek to unpack and understand the social circumstances that led to a 16-year-old having a rifle in the first place and causing so much pain. We must do everything in our power to support the survivors and to prevent this tragic crime from happening to others.” 

Rinehart added “the Zion Police Department and Major Crimes Task Force worked very hard on this investigation, and I look forward to collaborating with them further to prevent violence from claiming more lives.” Rinehart continued.  

Myles pleaded not guilty to the charges at a virtual hearing Wednesday morning before Lake County Circuit Judge George Strickland, who set a case management hearing for Feb. 15. An initial trial date is expected to be set at that time.  

He faces six counts of first-degree murder. Each count carries a mandatory sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison, with firearm enhancements that could lengthen that term.   

Myles is being held in custody of juvenile facilities with his bail set at $3 million. 



Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street

Phone: (847) 377-3000

Waukegan, IL 60085