A man convicted last month in the 2013 shooting death of Rock Island tattoo artist Derek Jackson is asking a judge to set aside the jury’s guilty verdict or grant him a new trial.
Nate Nieman, one of the attorneys for Yolanduis L. McDuffie, wrote in a motion filed Wednesday that prosecutors failed to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that only one witness, Kamren L. Bolden, placed him at the scene.
“Yet, the jury did not find that McDuffie was the shooter, which is reflected in their acquittal on Count 1,” Nieman wrote in the motion. “Therefore, the jury did not rely on Bolden’s testimony to convict McDuffie on Count 1. But besides Bolden’s testimony, there was no other evidence implicating McDuffie in the crime. The State failed to prove McDuffie guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury’s finding of guilty should be set aside.”
Bolden, 19, is the cousin of McDuffie's co-defendant, Aaron D. Henderson II, 24, who was convicted in 2015 of first-degree murder in Jackson’s death and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
McDuffie’s motion likely will be heard Jan. 5, the day he is slated to be sentenced.
In the motion for a new trial, Nieman also cited other alleged errors that include:
- The defense was restricted from cross-examining Bolden about an unrelated charge of failure to register as a sex offender that he is currently facing. Judge Frank Fuhr ruled that attorneys could only reference that Bolden was facing a felony charge.
- That Fuhr denied McDuffie's motion to prevent jurors from hearing testimony about a Smith & Wesson gun that was found at a home McDuffie was connected to. Jackson was killed with a Glock, not a Smith & Wesson, according to trial testimony.
- That prosecutors’ rebuttal argument was essentially a second closing argument that “grossly exceeded the scope of defendant’s closing argument.”
Just before noon Dec. 18, 2013, Rock Island police were dispatched to Jackson's home at 1001 16th Ave., and found him lying on his back in the dining room.
He had two gunshot wounds to the head and one gunshot wound to his left arm. Jackson was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Jackson's girlfriend, Alyson Schippers, testified at both trials that she saw Henderson standing over Jackson's body and appeared to be rifling through his pockets after the shooting.
Jackson had talked to Henderson about buying a gun from a friend the day before the shooting, she testified.
Bolden testified that the two of them and McDuffie had gone to Jackson's house that day to buy marijuana.
Inside the house, McDuffie pulled out a black gun and ordered everyone to the floor, Bolden testified.
He said he did not actually see who fired during the incident.
Prosecutors argued McDuffie was likely the "muscle" during the robbery. The defense argued that there was no forensic evidence or independent eye witnesses that tied McDuffie to the crime or to Jackson.
Jurors rejected prosecutors’ theory that McDuffie personally fired the gun, but believed that Jackson was killed while McDuffie and Henderson were committing an armed robbery.
Henderson also was convicted under the accountability theory.