Jury finds Davis guilty of murder

By Tyler Vincent

A jury of nine men and three women deliberated for just more than four hours Thursday before convicting Yaphet Davis of first-degree murder in the October 1999 shooting death of Eddie Hall near University Plaza.

Prosecution and defense lawyers finished their closing arguments in the morning, giving jurors the entire afternoon to discuss the case. Prosecutor Clint Hull said the verdict was simple.

“You look at the testimony of the witnesses and compare it to the defense, and I think we’ve established our case,” he said.

Hall was shot Oct. 9, 1999, at 821 Crane Drive. Friends last week testified that Davis was the gunman, retaliating against Hall and others who allegedly forced him to stay at the off-campus apartment while they awaited money for a windshield they believed Davis broke.

After leaving the apartment, Davis fled the area and was captured in November 1999 in Arkansas.

He is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. April 4. First-degree murder is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

Defense attorney Glenn Jazwiec quickly followed Davis back to the DeKalb County Jail after the trial. Davis, of Robbins, Ill., will be sentenced for delivery of a controlled substance, a Class X felony, about the same time as the murder sentencing.

This is the first murder prosecution for newly-elected state’s attorney Ron Matekaitis. He said the transition has been “tremendous” considering the short amount of time he’s been in office.

Editor in chief Melissa Westphal contributed to this report.