SYCAMORE – After deliberating for more than five hours Friday, a DeKalb County jury found a Chicago man guilty of murdering a DeKalb man in 2016 over a drug deal gone bad.
Ladonna English, mother of victim Debrece Shields, cried as she hugged First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein, who prosecuted the case.
“We’re just very pleased that the jury reached the verdict that they did, and we appreciate the time and the attention they gave to the case,” Klein said.
David T. Walls, 21, of the 12000 block of Normal Avenue, Chicago, was convicted by an eight-person jury made up of three women and five men, of first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon stemming from an Oct. 6, 2016, shooting which left Shields, 25, of DeKalb, dead from a single gunshot wound in a parking lot outside of an apartment complex.
He now faces up to 85 years in prison, and will be sentenced May 1.
“He’s obviously disappointed,” said Liam Dixon, Walls’ defense attorney. “We’ll continue to file motions for a new trial and see what happens.”
Walls didn’t react when his guilty verdict was read, but those gathered on behalf of Shields in the gallery in courtroom 220 began to cry.
It was an emotional four-day trial in front of circuit court Judge Robbin Stuckert, as prosecutors and Dixon debated evidence and events of the night of Oct. 6, 2016.
Testimonies throughout recounted how Walls and two others came to Chicago in a tan Jeep Grand Cherokee drive by Nico Griggs – who testified against Walls on Wednesday in exchange for his freedom and his first-degree murder charges were dropped.
Their journey led them to the Kimberly Apartments parking lot between 810 and 820 Kimberly Drive about
10:30 p.m. Oct. 6, when Walls got out of the car to meet Shields in his red Nissan Altima to buy some marijuana. A tussle ensued, and the two fell out of the car. Walls used a Beretta 9mm handgun, pressed it up against Shields’ back shoulder and pulled the trigger, a fatal shot to the chest.
Klein’s and First Assistant State’s Attorney Suzanne Collins closing arguments pointed to Shields’ blood which was found on Walls’ shoes and white jeans he wore that night. Surveillance camera footage, bullet casings and witness testimony led to the conviction.
“This is not the look of an innocent man,” Collins said, as she recounted how DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies described Walls’ nervous demeanor when he was taken into custody.
DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said he was very pleased with the verdict.
“I feel for Debrece’s family,” Amato said. “That this hopefully gets them on their recovery process of celebrating the life of Debrece Shields.”