A local jury found Aaron Henderson guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Rock Island tattoo artist Derek Jackson.
Jackson died after he was shot December 18, 2013, at a home on 16th Avenue in Rock Island. Jackson's girlfriend, and his three-year-old son, were in the home when the shooting happened.
In this story
Aaron Henderson and Yolandius McDuffie were arrested and charged with first-degree murder; the first-degree murder charge was dropped moments before trial was set to begin in early January 2015 for 21-year-old Yolandius McDuffie.
Testimony began March 25, 2015, in the trial of Aaron Henderson. Multiple witnesses said Henderson and Jackson were friends. Henderson's cousin, Kamren Bolden, testified it was McDuffie, not Henderson, who shot Jackson; Bolden also admitted he did not actually see who discharged the gun. Defense attorneys said no one actually saw Henderson shoot Jackson, and that the allegation was just a theory.
Bolden later testified Henderson told him, "I love you. Keep your mouth shut."
Investigators testified they thought Henderson also robbed Jackson, and police testimony on the last day of the trial indicated Jackson's blood was on money found in Henderson's possession after the shooting. Henderson declined the opportunity to testify on his own behalf.
The jury was sent to lunch, followed immediately by deliberations, at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2015.
When the jury returned with a verdict just after 5 p.m., the courtroom was full of family and friends connected to Jackson and to Henderson.
At about 5:15 p.m., the jury verdict was read. Henderson was found guilty on one count of first-degree murder, and not guilty on the second count. The verdict was followed immediately by an emotional outburst by observers in the courtroom. Cries of "There's still no justice for Derek" were audible.
Court records showed Henderson remained held in the Rock Island County Jail in lieu of $1-million bond. His sentencing date was not yet set.