January 18, 2024, Peoria, IL – Today, Eric R. Jackson, 20, was found guilty during a three-day jury trial for First Degree Murder and two counts of Aggravated Battery for a 2021 4th of July shooting in the North Valley that left one man dead and two others with gunshot wounds. Michael Johnson II, 21, was fatally shot in the back of the head while he sat in the passenger seat of a car parked outside his home. The driver of that car sustained a gunshot wound to the back, and a third victim, who was sitting on the porch, was shot in the face. Jackson fired at least 15 shots towards the victims.
The State presented strong forensic evidence that connected Jackson to the murder. Cellphone GPS records placed Jackson's phone near the crime scene around the time of the shooting, and the murder weapon was recovered from Jackson’s girlfriend’s house. That weapon had a 33-round extended magazine that was completely loaded. Another 50-round drum magazine for that weapon was located in Jackson’s car. A firearms examiner for the Illinois State Police testified that the shell casings and other ballistic evidence recovered from the shooting were fired from that weapon.
The State also presented text messages between Jackson and his mom discussing her purchasing the gun for him and a text message to another individual inquiring if “they would be able to know there is a murder on it?” referring to that gun. It took the jury about an hour to convict Jackson.
For her involvement in the case, Jackson’s mom was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on federal charges related to the purchase of the gun. Jackson will be sentenced on March 12.