Testimony ends in Aaron Henderson trial for murder of tattoo artist Derek Jackson
Trial proceedings continued Monday, March 30, 2015, for Aaron Henderson, the man accused of killing Rock Island tattoo artist Derek Jackson. Jackson died after he was shot December 18, 2013, at a home on 16th Avenue in Rock Island. He left behind a three-year-old son as well as a large circle of friends and family.
News 8 reporter Caroline Reinwald was in court for Henderson’s trial, and her updates are right here:
Prosecution calls RIPD detective Timothy Metzger to the stand.
Metzger went to Henderson’s girlfriends home to arrest him, says weapons were drawn for protection during arrest.
Metzger testifies that Henderson did not resist police during arrest.
No further questions for Merzger. Next witness is RIPD detective Chad Sowards, who also testified last week.
Sowards says there is surveillance video of Henderson 14 minutes after 911 call.
Prosecution presents photo of Henderson’s left arm to court, asks Sowards to describe tattoos.
Sowards says tattoo on Henderson’s left arm is very similar to tattoo in
a photo on Henderson’s phone, of a hand holding a black handgun.
No further questions for Sowards. Prosecution says they are ready to rest their case.
Defense argues there’s been no evidence or testimony that Henderson robbed Jackson after he was shot.
Judge explains to Henderson he has the right to testify. Henderson says he does not want to testify.
Judge gives minute break, defense will start their case next.
Prosecution calls Sowards back to the stand for one last question.
Prosecution asks Sowards if gun that killed Jackson was ever recovered.
Sowards says no. Prosecution officially rests their case.
Defense calls their first witness to the stand, Henderson’s cousin Cameron.
Cameron says he regularly hung out with Jackson and Henderson. Was with both of them the day Jackson died.
Cameron testifies morning of Jackson’s death, he and Henderson walked to Jackson’s home to buy marijuana.
Cameron says Yolandis McDuffie was with them that morning. McDuffie was
initially arrested for Jackson’s death, but was later acquitted.
Cameron says when they got o Jackson’s home, McDuffie pulled out a gun and told everyone to get down.
Defense asks Cameron who shot Derek Jackson. Cameron says Yolandis McDuffie.
Cameron says he didn’t physically see McDuffie shoot Jackson but he heard the gunshots.
Cameron says he was surprised when Jackson was shot. Was sacred when it
happened and initially lied to police, but isn’t lying now.
Correction: Cameron was scared (not sacred)
Cameron says after initially lying to police, he was charged with a crime and sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Prosecution cross examines Cameron, who says he initially lied to police and said he never left he house the day Jackson died.
Cameron confirms he, Henderson, and McDuffie went to Jackson’s home to buy marijuana the day he died.
Cameron says when they got to Jackson’s home, McDuffie pulled gun out.
When Cameron dropped to ground he saw a gun in Jackson’s hand.
Cameron says when he left Jackson’s home after the shooting, Henderson
caught up with him and acted shocked. Parted ways after that.
After going to a girl’s house, Cameron says he met Henderson at his home. They played video games.
Cameron says he never saw Henderson again after he left Henderson’s home that day. Henderson was later arrested.
No further questions from prosecution for Cameron. Defense begins redirect.
Defense asks Cameron to confirm he initially lied to police but isn’t lying now. Cameron testifies yes.
Defense rests. Prosecution calls RIPD Derective Sowards to the stand.
Sowards testifies that Cameron initially told police he never left his home the day Jackson died.
After police arrested Cameron for obstructing justice, Sowards says Cameron told police what he witnessed.
Sowards goes over details of what Cameron told police. Says Cameron heard multiple gunshots the day Jackson died.
Sowards says Cameron told police McDuffie shot Jackson. He said Henderson stayed behind in Jackson’s home but didn’t know why.
Sowards says Cameron told police he and Henderson met up later.
Henderson hugged Cameron, told him he loved him, and to keep his mouth
Under cross from defense, Sowards says Cameron didn’t tell them the truth until they presented him with evidence from that day.
No further questions for Sowards from defense or prosecution.
No further evidence to be presented today. Judge tells jury they will
get case today, prosecution and defense to prepare closing statements.
Judge gives jury a break. It’s been packed in the courtroom today. Filled with Jackson’s and Henderson’s family and friends.
Attorneys and judge back in courtroom, going over jury instructions now.
Judge and attorneys take five minute break. Attorneys will give closing arguments next.
Jury is back in the courtroom, will hear closing arguments now.
Prosecution making closing statement. Starts by re-playing 911 call Allyson Schippers made after Jackson was shot.
Prosecution says Henderson and Cameron were seen circling block after shooting.
Prosecution reiterates that Schippers saw Henderson going through Jackson’s pockets after he was shot.
Prosecution asks jury in reference to Cameron, “Why would someone tell the police they didn’t leave the house that day?”
Prosecution says blood stain found on cash that Henderson stole from
Jackson was tiny, so Henderson didn’t see it or get rid of it.
Prosecution re-shows photo of Henderson’s left arm, with tattoos similar
to ones in photo on Henderson’s phone, of a hand holding a handgun.
Prosecution says handgun in photo on Henderson’s phone is most likely the murder weapon.
Prosecution reminds jury of Cameron’s testimony of Henderson telling him “I love you; keep your mouth shut.”
Prosecution asks jury to look at the facts. Says if they do, they will
find Henderson guilty on two counts of first degree murder.
Defense starting their closing arguments now.
Defense tells jurors, “Derek Jackson did not deserve to die.” Says he was a great friend to Henderson.
Defense: “It’s human nature to seek revenge, to seek retribution, to
hold someone accountable. Which is why the jury is so important.”
Defense tells jury to check their emotions at the door.
Defense says there’s no evidence Henderson shot Jackson. Says Henderson had no motive to kill Jackson, they were friends.
Defense tells jury Schippers’ testimony is understandably very emotional.
Defense says Schippers is as close to an eye witness the prosecution can get to.
Prosecution re-shows photo of Jackson’s home. Says, from angle Schippers
stood, there’s no way she could have seen Jackson get shot.
Photo shows corner where Jackson lied after he was shot, taken from an angle on the stairs where Schippers stood.
Defense’s asks jury “If you’re going to go out in broad daylight to
someone’s house you know well and rob [them], wouldn’t you wear a mask?”
Defense says, there’s no proof of Henderson shooting Jackson, that it’s just a theory.
Defense says Henderson did not steal “any of the good stuff,” like major cash, marijuana, or gun.
Defense points out Henderson is wearing blue jeans in surveillance video
after shooting, not black ones displayed as evidence in court.
Defense says there’s no evidence Henderson used the gun in a picture on his phone the day Jackson died.
Defense says Henderson lost an adoptive older brother and close friend, in reference to Jackson, the day he died.
Defense shows jury crime scene photos.
Defense tells jury, “There’s absolutely no evidence that my client shot anybody, but the state has another theory.”
Defense: prosecution has 2 theories, either Henderson personally pulled
the trigger or he schemed to rob Jackson and have McDuffie kill him.
Defense says it’s possible when Schippers saw Henderson going through
Jackson’s pockets, he may have just been checking on his friend.
Defense says phone records don’t prove anything, just circumstantial evidence.
Defense says Cameron was the only true witness in this case.
Defense tells jury, “you’ve got an important job to do, a lot of things to consider.”
Defense says when jury looks at facts, they will not find Henderson
guilty of killing Jackson or scheming with McDuffie to do so.
Defense finished with closing statement. Prosecution gets chance to address jury one last time.
Prosecution asks jury why Henderson didn’t call police when his friend was shot.
Prosecution asks jury, if Henderson went to Jackson’s house with the others to buy weed, where’s the weed?
Prosecution asks jury why would Henderson be leaning over Jackson’s body of he wasn’t trying to revive him?
Prosecution says Schippers had clear view of Henderson going through Jackson’s pockets.
Prosecution says money found behind Henderson’s girlfriend’s couch was
specifically put there to keep hidden from police, not an accident.
Prosecution tells jury, “Derek Jackson trusted the defendant.”
Prosecution asks jury to keep their focus on common sense.
Prosecution says Henderson is responsible for Jackson’s death.
Prosecution says after jury looks at evidence, they will find Henderson guilty of first degree murder in both counts.
Attorneys are finished with closing statements. Judge giving jury instruction now.
Jury is now taking lunch, will come back to deliberate after that.