During the early hours of April 1, 2010 Washington Park, Illinois Mayor John Thornton was shot dead in his vehicle. Witnesses saw the vehicle rolling down the street, heard shots, and saw the vehicle crash into a tree in a vacant lot. Mayor Thornton was found in the driver's seat of the car, with both airbags having been deployed.
Two witnesses gave statements.
The first, Nortisha Ball, (who was in jail awaiting trial on charges of residential burglary and theft at the time of the trial) whose initial statement to Illinois State Police Special Agent Joseph Bates, on the morning of the shooting, was that she saw someone get out of the car, just before it hit the tree. She later selected the photo of Aaron Jackson, from a photo array, because she was instructed to identify anyone in the array that she knew.
The second witness, LaQueshia Jackson, testified that she was in her car, parked in her driveway, when the crash occurred. She had been at her mother's when her home alarm went off. She got to her house and the Police were not there. She was afraid to go in and was about to leave when she heard gunfire. She stated that as she was leaving to go back to her mother's, she saw the white vehicle crash into a tree, and she saw a man she knew as "Chill" get out of the passenger side of the white vehicle, and limp to a white Suburban driven by her ex-boyfriend, David Taylor. She identified "Chill" as Aaron Jackson.
During the crime-scene investigation, not only were the Illinois State Police Special Agents there but also Washington Park Police, including Detective Kim McAfee. LaQueshia Jackson spoke with McAfee at the crime scene, but later denied having done so.
When the Mayor's vehicle was processed, a total of 26 identifiable latent fingerprints were found, (out of 57 initially lifted) one of which matched Aaron Jackson, which was found on the exterior of the vehicle, on the front portion of the rear passenger side door.
When Aaron Jackson was eventually arrested, he provided a recorded statement, in which he stated that he had been in the area, heard gunshots and ran, fell to the ground, hurt his leg, and then got out of there and went back to his girlfriend's apartment. His girlfriend, Cynthia Hooker, confirmed that she had lent him her red Impala, and that he had come home in the early hours of April 1, 2010.
Following his arrest, Aaron was tested for GSR ("gunshot residue") which consists of a swab of the hands, and a search for specific chemicals, barium, lead and antimony, wherein all three are usually found in high concentration on the hands of someone who has recently fired a firearm. Particles "consistent with" GSR were reportedly found on his left hand, but none on his right hand, and not in such a concentration as to constitute conclusive evidence of him having fired a gun.
Aaron's clothing was also examined, and a small bloodstain found on his pants was not that of John Thornton (Grand Jury Transcript, p. 13).
The grand jury was told that the fingerprint had been found on the "inside of the post by the passenger door" to obtain the Indictment against Aaron, and he went to Trial, charged with first-degree murder.
At Aaron's Trial, the Prosecutor presented the testimony of Nortisha Ball, who claimed she had seen someone get out of the car, but was not sure who it was. She later acknowledged telling Police, that she had seen Aaron get out of the car, but she did not remember which side of the vehicle he had exited. At another point, she testified that she could not remember anything about that morning because she had been high.
LaQueshia Jackson testified about the burglar alarm going off, and going home, and then being afraid because the Police had not responded to the alarm. She testified about leaving after she heard "at least two" gunshots, and seeing the car crash, and seeing "Chill" exit the passenger side of the car, and limp to a white Suburban, driven by her ex-boyfriend David Taylor. (Mr Taylor was not implicated in this crime in any way). When confronted with the fact that Aaron's girlfriend, Cynthia Hooker, had lent Aaron her red Impala, she changed her testimony to having seen him limp to a red Impala. She also claimed not to have spoken with Detective Kim McAfee.
Before Trial, in this case, Detective McAfee had been indicted on Federal corruption charges unrelated to this case, including lying to his superiors and violating civil rights by shooting into the vehicles of citizens under false pretenses.
During Trial, an anonymous call to the Prosecutor's office stated that Ms. Jackson had been offered a bribe by McAfee to lie and cover up his presence at the crime scene in this case. When this was divulged to the Court, and she was questioned outside the presence of the jury, she stated that she did not want to testify further because she had been receiving threatening phone calls, by a caller who knew where she lived, worked, and what time her children waited for the school bus.
When Ms. Jackson was recalled on the stand, and questioned about her discussions with Detective McAfee, she went into a stupor, unable to answer questions and, after the jury was removed, she suffered a seizure on the stand and was hospitalized. The Court Clerk was informed of the hositalization by Ms. Jackson's sister, Angela Dodd, who also stated that she had been a witness to McAfee offering to pay off Ms. Jackson to lie about his presence and "keep his name out of it".
Based upon all of this, the Defense asked for a mistrial, which was granted by the Trial Court.
Aaron Jackson B-26006
Menard Correctional Center
P.O. Box 1000
Menard, ILLINOIS 62259
U S A
THE SECOND TRIAL
This took place in April 2012. Nortisha Bell, who was by then serving a four-year term for her burglary and theft conviction, again testified, this time admitting that she had been intoxicated at the time of the crime, and that she had seen a person exiting the passenger side of the car, but had not seen his face. The Prosecutor managed to include her prior testimony, that it had been "Chill" she had seen, but she testified that, even though she had told this initially to the Police, now, at Trial, she did not know who it was. She also testified that, when she was shown a photo array including Aaron's photo, she circled his photo because Detective McAfee had told her to do so. She further testified that McAfee had transported her to the Police station, whereupon he threatened her, telling her that she was going to be arrested. McAfee told Ms. Ball that he already knew that it was Aaron Jackson who had been seen getting out of the car, and that she was to also say it was him.
Ms. Ball had also sent a letter to the Trial Judge after the first Trial ended, asking to be put into protective custody out of fear for her safety, and stating in the letter "I am admitting to everything that happened. It was Jackson that killed the Mayor", in an effort to be relieved of the threats she had been receiving. This was revealed at the second Trial.
The Prosecutor presented a new witness at the second Trial. Another jailhouse informant, Gilda Lott, who was only interviewed weeks before the Trial, and who claimed she had also seen "Chill" get out of the white car, after it crashed into the tree, "and run and jump into a car with somebody else". She claimed to have seen "Chill" get out of the driver's side of the car.
Prior to Trial, Ms. Lott had admitted to the Defense Investigator, Mike Boyne, that she remembered nothing about the morning of the crime, due to her memory problems, because she testified, she had been hit in the head four times with a bat, and that she only talked to the Police and told her story, because she thought it would help her in her pending criminal charges. She refused to give a written statement telling the truth.
The Prosecutor presented the evidence regarding the fingerprint, which was found on the outside of the rear passenger door, (not inside the car by the front passenger door, as the Prosecutor falsely told the grand jury, Tr. p. 4-5). The alleged bloodstain found on Aaron's jeans, which did not match that of John Thornton, as established in the Grand Jury Transcripts, was presented to the Jury as "unable to exclude", simply to confuse the jury.
The Prosecutor further presented surprise "new" forensic evidence, claiming that particles consistent with GSR had been found on Aaron's jeans and t-shirt, which were purportedly re-examined after the first Trial ended with the mistrial. Notably, there was no GSR claimed to be on his sweatshirt. There was no explanation for how Aaron's clothing had been forensically examined well before the start of the first Trial, and this miraculous new GSR evidence was not found the first time they were examined. It is also important to note that the forensic examiners testified to the Grand Jury, that the inside of the car was "completely splattered with blood", yet there was none on Aaron's clothing that did not belong to him, from his fall while running from the gunfire.
Subsequent to the first Trial, LaQueshia Jackson executed a sworn Affidavit explaining that the testimony she gave at the first Trial was rehearsed, coerced and the result of being threatened by the Police. She further stated that she did not, in fact, see Aaron Jackson leave the Mayor's car on the night of the shooting. Inexplicably, Aaron's lawyer refused to call her to testify at the second Trial, despite having this sworn Affidavit.
Aaron was convicted by the jury and sentenced to serve 35 years in prison.
Aaron had been out "shooting dice" with his friends, and selling weed when the white car, which turned out to belong to the Mayor, John Thornton, pulled to the curb near where he was "serving". He approached the passenger side of the car, which is how his print got on the front part of the rear passenger door. When he saw that the person in the car was not looking to "score", he walked away. The car pulled away and pulled back to the curb about 6 or 7 houses down the street. A few minutes later, he heard the gunshots, he took off running, fell to the ground hurting his knee, and, when there were no more shots, went to his girlfriend's car (the red Impala) and went home. He did not shoot the Mayor, or anyone else and was not involved in this crime.
When the Police came to his girlfriend's apartment later that night, it was Detective Kim McAfee who showed up, and ultimately transported Aaron to the Police Station, and turned him over to the State Police.
It was also McAfee who had access to Aaron's clothing and items taken from the apartment that later were purported to have GSR on them.
FORMER WASHINGTON PARK POLICE DETECTIVE KIM McAFEE
Kim McAfee was Indicted by the Federal Government for corruption, including lying to his superiors and shooting wantonly into the vehicles of citizens, in crimes unrelated to this case. He was already on the Prosecutor's Office's list of "non-credible police officers", based upon his corruption before this case even happened, to the point where Prosecutor's refused to prosecute any case in which he was involved, or to call him as a witness in any case they did prosecute.
In this case, the evidence establishes that McAfee attempted to bribe one witness into lying about his presence at the crime scene; he threatened that witness and another one to attempt to conceal his presence at the crime scene, and into falsely claiming that Aaron Jackson had been the person seen getting out of the car.
This was a high-profile case with heavily political implications. It involved a corrupt Police Detective who was hip-deep in the investigation, despite his inability to be involved in any cases to be prosecuted by the Prosecutor's Office. This corrupt Detective, Kim McAfee went to great lengths to attempt to conceal his very presence at the crime scene, by attempting to bribe witnesses to lie and say that he was not present at the crime scene, threatening witnesses to lie about his presence at the crime scene, and attempting to erase any evidence that he was, in fact, at the crime scene and had access to items that were later used as evidence at Trial in this case. His corrupt behavior resulted in a mistrial by threatening a witness to the point of having a major health incident requiring hospitalization in fear of him.
Moreover, there is now evidence that excludes McAfee from having been at the crime scene during the commission of the crime, and actually committing it himself. There is evidence that McAfee and the Mayor had a screaming argument shortly before the crime.
There is also no explanation for why Aaron purportedly had GSR on his left hand, yet when the Police collected his pajamas which he put on immediately upon going home, there was no GSR on them.
There is also no explanation for how GSR was supposedly on his left hand in the first place, when he cleaned up, on arriving home, due to the scrapes from his fall, and washed his hands in the process.
All of the purported evidence against Aaron either defies explanation or is clearly and blatantly falsified.
The testimony of Nortisha Ball at the second Trial, conflicted with that she gave in the first Trial, which was the result of interference by corrupt Detective McAfee.
The testimony of Gilda Lott was inconsistent with the crime scene, and clearly false, fabricated in hopes of getting a break on the pending sentence for her own crime.
The alleged DNA "match" was false, as established by the testimony to the Grand Jury, but falsely presented at Trial by the Prosecutor. There was no match, the blood did not belong to the victim.
The testimony of LaQueshia Jackson at the first Trial was established to be the result of threats and coercion by Detective Kim McAfee, and the truth was not presented at the second Trial, because Aaron's lawyer inexplicably refused to call her as a witness.
"Aaron also tried to get his lawyer to bring in the two guys with whom he was shooting dice to testify. The lawyer came back and said one of them had been drunk when the lawyer tried to interview him, and although the lawyer said he told the guy to be sober the next time, the lawyer never went back to re-interview him. The lawyer also claimed he "could not find" the other guy, despite the fact that the guy has lived in the area his entire life and always hangs out at the same place. Both of these men have been asked for a statement, one has agreed to do so "when he gets off probation"; the other has stated that he is worried about potential danger or reprisal if he gives a statement because Kim McAfee is still around.
Upon a complete review of all of the evidence in this case, it is indisputable that Aaron Jackson is completely innocent of any involvement in the murder of Washington Park, Illinois Mayor John Thornton, and was framed by Kim McAfee, a former Police Detective, who has not only been established to be corrupt but also is far more likely to be the actual murderer.