A Rock Island County judge on Tuesday denied a motion to dismiss charges against Yolanduis McDuffie, who is charged a second time in the fatal shooting of Rock Island tattoo artist Derek Jackson in 2013.
McDuffie, 24, will be back in court Friday for a pretrial conference. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Just before noon Dec. 18, 2013, Rock Island police were dispatched to Jackson’s home in the 1000 block of 16th Avenue.
Police found Jackson, 24, lying on his back in the dining room. He had two gunshot wounds to the head and one gunshot wound to his left arm. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
McDuffie initially was charged with first-degree murder in Jackson's death, but prosecutors dismissed the case 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 after investigators found the handgun they believe was used to kill Jackson.
According to prosecutors, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in May 2015 recovered a handgun in a Bettendorf hotel room that was transported and tested at the Illinois Crime Lab.
The gun was found to be a match to the shell casings and bullet that was recovered at the scene of the shooting. Prosecutors have not said how McDuffie was linked to the recovered gun.
McDuffie’s co-defendant in the case, Aaron D. Henderson II, 24, was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder in connection with Jackson's death and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The jury rejected prosecutors' theory that Henderson pulled the trigger but were convinced that Henderson was an accomplice in Jackson's death.
Nate Nieman, one of McDuffie's attorneys, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against McDuffie on Feb. 21.
He wrote in the motion that prosecutors erred in their January 2015 motion to dismiss and argued that instead of dismissing the case, they moved to have it "stricken with leave to reinstate."
That means the case is “merely suspended for a time” and “may be resurrected upon the state’s motion at any time,” according to the motion.
McDuffie demanded his right to a speedy trial in his first case, which means that he must be tried within 120 days from the day of his arrest under state statute.
A criminal defendant can ask for continuances, which essentially stop the speedy trial clock and do not count against the 120-day time frame.
Nieman argued in his motion that if the case was stricken with leave to reinstate, the case was still pending and McDuffie’s right to a speedy trial was violated.
In the January 2015 motion to dismiss, Assistant State’s Attorney John McCooley wrote that the case was dismissed without prejudice “i.e. with leave to re-instate” because of new evidence.
He disputed that the case was not formally dismissed and argued that if the defense believed that the first case was still pending, they should have filed a new motion for a speedy trial.
Judge Frank Fuhr denied McDuffie's motion to dismiss and ruled that prosecutors did not act improperly when they filed their motion.
Last year, McDuffie pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon in Scott County District Court and was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in the April 2015 shooting death of James Goode Jr., 33, of Davenport.
He made his first appearance on the newly filed Rock Island County charges in December.