NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jury begins deliberating in 2018 Bloomington murder case after weeklong trial

Courts graphic
WGLT file photo
/

Jordyn Thornton did not know Trevonte Kirkwood when he fatally shot him as part of a gang-related killing Kirkwood walked down a Bloomington sidewalk in 2018, a prosecutor told jurors in closing remarks on Wednesday at Thornton’s murder trial.

Thornton, 22, wanted to move up the ranks of The 200’s, a hybrid gang, said Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson.

The shooting “was about reputation, retaliation and disrespect,” Lawson argued.

Trevonte Kirkwood
Dameca Kirkwood
Trevonte Kirkwood was shot and killed in October 2018.

Kirkwood was taking a walk to cool off from his frustration over car trouble on Oct. 30, 2018. As he paced the 1300 block of North Oak Street, a man approached him and began firing a handgun. Three shots later, Kirkwood was struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Neighbors called 911 when they found him after they heard the shots, according to testimony at the weeklong trial.

Thornton wanted gang members “to recognize he’s the real deal. He’s a killer,” said the prosecutor.

A McLean County jury deliberated about five hours on Tuesday afternoon, and will resume deliberations on Wednesday morning at the Law and Justice Center.

Lawson reminded jurors of testimony from one of Thornton’s friends, who reportedly drove the defendant and Darien Davis to a nearby lake after the shooting to dispose of a .38 Special.

“He heard a splash he believed was a firearm going into the water,” said Lawson.

In his closing arguments, defense lawyer Ron Lewis criticized the investigation by Bloomington police. The nine months of police work produced “garbage” evidence, said Lewis. Detectives used a “cut and paste” method of putting allegations together from unreliable witnesses, he said.

Thornton’s lawyer asked jurors to examine what he called the “bad assumptions” made by police to charge Thornton with murder.

Thornton is currently serving a four-year sentence on drug charges. If convicted of murder, he faces 20 to 60 years and an additional 15 years for discharge of a firearm during the incident.

A co-defendant, Quentin Jackson, was sentenced to 17 years last year for his role in Kirkwood's death.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with NPR donors across the country – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
Related Content