Herring, taken into custody as a person of interest in the murders of Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk and former CHA officer Stephen Peters early on in the investigation, appeared in court Tuesday on two counts of first-degree murder. He was held without bond.
Bond was set at $250,000 for another suspect in the case.
Prosecutors say Herring, who lives across from the murder scene, fatally shot the two men while Officer Flisk, an evidence technician, was processing a burglary scene on Friday. Peters' prized car, a Mustang, had been vandalized and Officer Flisk responded to the call.
Prosecutors said Herring was perpetrator in the burglary and was trying to cover his tracks with the fatal shooting.
At the Tuesday court hearing, prosecutors said Herring approached his victims in the garage, located in an alley near the 8100-block of South Manistee. Wearing a hoody, Herring allegedly spoke to his victims, saying "I know who did this." When he was told by the victims that they were able to recover fingerprints, he allegedly shot both Officer Flisk and Peters in the head with his 9 mm handgun and left the garage with the garbage cans in which he had stored parts of Peters' Mustang. Prosecutors say, as he was leaving he noticed one of the men move, so he went back to the scene and shot them both once again in the head.
"He shot them once and then noticed that Mr. Peters was still moving and went back up and shot Mr. Peters again and shot Officer Flisk again. There is evidence of close-range fire," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said.
"What was done to Officer Flisk and Mr. Peters is outside of comprehension, " Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Department, said.
Police say Herring told people in the neighborhood he had committed the murders and tried to change his appearance by cutting off his braids, which he gave, along with his gun, to Timothy Willis, 22, for safe keeping. Willis is charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful use of a weapon. He is being held at $250,000.
Police will not say exactly who came forward with the information to break the case, but said members of the community pointed to Herring.
"We had people come forward willingly, courageously, and offer this information and we had the help from the community and this is why this is such a great case. The community came forward and worked with us to bring this guy off the streets," Supt. Weis said.
Herring was arrested just three doors down from the crime scene at his grandmother's house.
Police say the gun is also linked to a June 18, 2010, crime in the same neighborhood in which Fernando Townsend was shot in the back.
Townsend survived. He knew his attacker, but his family feared retaliation, so he did not press charges against Herring, who was out on parole on a 2007 armed robbery. Herring returned to prison briefly, but was released in mid-September. Herring is now charged with attempted murder in that case.
"The truth in sentencing, overall, does work well with cases that we have had. And in this particular case I think it's unfortunate, though. And this was a case where it was there and he is not the only one that's been let out in less than time," Cook County State's Attorney Alvarez said.
Herring was 16 when he robbed a liquor store with a shotgun. Herring was still parole eligible after serving just three years because his actions did not result in anyone's suffering great bodily harm. Had that happened, it would have triggered stiffer sentencing standards through the "truth in sentencing" act.
When Herring was released in September, the Prisoner Review Board says it had no independent knowledge that he was a suspect in the attempted murder because no charges had ever been filed in that case and because the victim of the crime at that time did not want it pursued.