Alyson Schippers cried on the witness stand before a Rock Island County jury as she recalled the day she found boyfriend Derek Jackson shot to death in the dining room of his Rock Island home.
“He wasn’t moving,” she said. “I tried to shake him, he wasn’t moving.”
Schippers, 28, formerly of Davenport, was the first witness called to the stand on the first day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Yolanduis Lynn McDuffie, 24.
He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Jackson, 24, on Dec. 18, 2013.
Schippers testified that the day before the shooting, Jackson talked to his friend, Aaron D. Henderson II, about buying a gun from another acquaintance.
Henderson’s cousin, Kamren L. Bolden, now 19, was also present during the conversation, she said.
Schippers testified it was not unusual for Jackson to talk about buying a gun. He had several firearms locked in a safe in his home at 1001 16th Ave., and often went to the shooting range.
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. She said she heard the sound of Jackson’s security system when he opened the door.
About five minutes later, she said she heard a gunshot. Schippers said she went down the stairs to see what was going on and saw him 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. She called 911, she said.
Jackson, who suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and one to his left arm, died at a local hospital.
Bolden, who is slated to testify in McDuffie’s case, testified on behalf of the defense in Henderson’s 2015 trial that that he, Henderson and McDuffie had gone to Jackson’s house that day to buy marijuana.
While they were 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.
Bolden was charged with obstructing justice and served time in a juvenile prison in connection with the case.
Under questioning from defense attorney Dora Villarreal, Schippers said she didn’t notice anything that indicated Jackson was going to sell marijuana that day.
Rock Island County Assistant State’s Attorney John McCooley said in his opening statement that a neighbor’s surveillance video shows McDuffie, dressed in a peacoat with one hand in his pocket, running from the scene.
Rock Island Police officer Brian Manecke testified that he collected a pea coat, cellphone, and a single key from McDuffie in January 2014.
Defense attorney Nate Nieman said in his opening statement that the evidence presented at trial “isn’t going to come out the way that the state promised in its opening statements.”
He said Bolden gave four different stories to police and that the surveillance footage cited by prosecutors is “grainy” and difficult to identify anybody.
Nieman also said that the suspected murder weapon recovered in a Bettendorf hotel room in 2015 had someone else’s fingerprints on it.
“These are things that are important,” he said. “These are things that make the state’s narrative difficult to swallow.”
McDuffie initially was charged with first-degree murder in Jackson's death, but prosecutors dismissed the case 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.
McDuffie made his first appearance on the newly filed charges in December.
Henderson, 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 was convinced that Henderson was an accomplice in Jackson's death.