Love pleads not guilty in shooting death of Galva teen

GALESBURG, Illinois-- The man accused of shooting and killing a Galva teen following a single-vehicle accident on a rural road outside of Galva on June 19 has pleaded not guilty.

James Love stepped into the courtroom for the first time on Tuesday, July 17. The 58-year-old walked into the Knox County Courthouse with his wife.

He's facing up to 35 years in prison for the charges related to Xavier Hartman's death. The 19-year-old's car crashed near Love's farm on June 19. After a confrontation, police said Love shot Hartman.

The courtroom Tuesday was filled to capacity. Roughly a dozen of Hartman's family members were there, including his mother.

Love is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, which was reduced from an initial charge of first-degree murder by a grand jury. He's also charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Love's attorney said he believed his client would be exonerated and acquitted.

"Right now, Mr. Love's fighting for his life," Todd Ringel said. "Make no mistake about that. And the team of Johnson law group is fighting for his life also. And, ironically, it's exactly what he had to do the day of this incident because he was the victim of an unprovoked, brutal attack."

Love is due back in court for his trial on Aug. 6.