Kelly found guilty in McGruder murder

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GALESBURG, Illinois -- It took a jury barely an hour to find Jonathan Kelly guilty of murdering Jenni McGruder in April of last year. Kelly was charged with shooting the mother of two outside a Galesburg bar on the night she was celebrating her 26th birthday with some friends.

It was a moment McGruder's family had been waiting for. As the jury announced their verdict, cheers of joy soon gave way to sobs of relief in the courtroom.

Kelly did not react to the verdict. The conviction means he could face between 45 years to life in prison. His sentencing date has been set for May 10th.

Three witnesses identified Kelly as the shooter outside of Seminary Street Pub, where McGruder died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

"It leads you to one conclusion," said Assistant State's Attorney Brian Kerr. "The defendant was in that back parking lot trying to kill someone."

Kelly's defense attorney Mike Bianucci said the testimony wasn't reliable.

"Who's at a bar at 1:30 and only had one drink? It's fine, they've had four, they've had five," said Bianucci. "But it matters as to how they perceive things and what they're able to see and recollect," he said.

Prosecutors mocked the defense's theory that there could have been a second shooter.

"This isn't the grassy knoll, there's not a second shooter," said Assistant State's Attorney Andrew Stuckart.

The family applauded the jury's decision as they left the courtroom. Kelly was immediately removed from the Knox County Courthouse and taken into custody to await his sentencing hearing.



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