Closing arguments are expected Friday in the murder trial of Yolanduis L. McDuffie.
Rock Island County assistant state’s attorneys John McCooley and Heidi Weller rested their case Thursday afternoon after calling more than a dozen witnesses since Tuesday. Defense attorneys Nate Nieman and Dora Villarreal are expected to rest their case Friday morning.
When Judge Frank Fuhr asked McDuffie if he wanted to testify, he replied, “I’m not going to.”
Defendants are not required to present any evidence or testify in their own defense because the burden is in the prosecution. The decision not to present evidence or testify cannot be used against the defendant when jurors begin their deliberations.
Fuhr denied a motion for acquittal made by Nieman after prosecutors rested their case.
McDuffie, 24, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Rock Island tattoo artist Derek Jackson in his home just before noon on Dec. 18, 2013.
Much of Thursday's testimony centered around the discovery of and testing of a 40-caliber Glock that prosecutors believe was used to kill Jackson.
Dan Stafford, a special agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, testified that he was notified in February 2015 that a Glock had been found in a hotel room at the Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf.
The gun was sent to the state crime lab in Ankeny, Iowa; fingerprints found on it matched one of the occupants of the room, he said.
Nieman said in his opening statement Tuesday that McDuffie’s fingerprints were not found on the gun.
Stafford ran a trace on the gun and learned that it had been stolen. The investigation led him to a woman in Rock Island, who said she believed it had been stolen from her home in December 2013 by her cousin and McDuffie’s co-defendant, Aaron D. Henderson II.
Stafford said he took the gun to Rock Island Police, who then took the gun to the Illinois State Police Crime lab.
Forensic Scientist Dustin Johnson testified that earlier in the case that he examined four bullets and four shell casings recovered from Jackson’s home and from his body during the autopsy. He opined that the four shell casings were fired from the same gun, and three of the four bullets were fired from the same gun.
Analysis results on the fourth bullet were inconclusive, he said.
Johnson testified that he did a test fire of the Glock when he received it and compared the markings on the bullets and casings to one of the bullets and one of the casings recovered during the investigation. It was a match, he said.
Jackson’s girlfriend, Alyson Schippers, testified earlier this week that Jackson and Henderson, who were friends, had talked the day before the shooting about Jackson buying a gun from a friend of Henderson's.
She testified that she, Jackson and his then-3-year-old son, Remi, had been upstairs at his home early on Dec. 18, 2013, when he received a call from Henderson.
Schipper said that she played music on Jackson's new sound system while he went downstairs to let in Henderson.
About five minutes later, she heard a gunshot. Schippers said she went down the stairs to see what was going on and saw Jackson lying on the floor.
Henderson, she said, was standing over Jackson's body and appeared to be rifling through his pockets.
She went back upstairs, looked out the window, and saw two people running away, Schippers said.
Jackson was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Henderson’s cousin, Kamren L. Bolden, testified at his 2015 trial that they and McDuffie had gone to Jackson’s house that day to buy marijuana.
While there, McDuffie pulled out a black handgun and ordered everyone to get on the floor, Bolden testified.
While he was on the ground, Bolden said he saw a silver gun in Jackson's hand. Bolden said he did not actually see who shot the gun, but said he heard more than one shot.
Bolden ran out of Jackson's house and later met up with Henderson at his house, he testified in 2015.
Bolden, 19, was charged with obstructing justice and served time in a juvenile prison in connection with the case.
Henderson, 24, was arrested the night of the shooting and was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2015.
The jury rejected prosecutors' theory that Henderson pulled the trigger but was convinced that Henderson was an accomplice in Jackson's death.
McDuffie was arrested in January 2014. The charges against him were dismissed on Jan. 6, 2015, the day his trial was scheduled to begin.
The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning charges could be refiled at any time. There is no statute of limitation for a murder charge.
Rock Island County prosecutors recharged him in August 2015 they recovered the gun they believed was used to kill Jackson.