Judge Sends a Message With Murder Sentence

Judge Sends a Message With Murder Sentence

A Vermilion County Circuit Court Judge sent a message Tuesday afternoon as she sentenced a Danville woman to 60 years in prison for murder. Judge Nancy Fahey sentenced 39-year-old Lakeisha Cunningham for the April 27th, 2017 shooting death of 25-year-old Justin Jones of Danville.

”Gun related violence in this community is out of control – absolutely out of control,” said Judge Fahey.  ”This community belongs to me…and all the officers in here.”   And the Judge added it required her to send a strong message. ”This Court is not going to tolerate that type of violence,” proclaimed Judge Fahey.

Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy says Cunningham will be required to serve 100-percent of the 60 year sentence.

Attorney Justin Schwartz of Chicago, representing Cunningham, argued that evidence should have been introduced during the trial which could have established a self-defense argument.   But State’s Attorney Lacy said Cunningham ‘’executed Justin Jones in the parking lot with a single gunshot wound from a firearm.’’   The shooting occurred on a parking lot across East Fairchild Street from Fair Oaks.

State’s Attorney Lacy showed a video that recorded the crime as it was occurring.  ‘’Miss Cunningham was caught on tape executing Justin Jones,’’ said Lacy during the hearing.

Just prior to being sentenced, Cunningham said she was ‘’deeply sorry for what happened.’’   She told the judge she was forced to do it.

‘’This is not me,’’ added Cunningham.  ‘’I’ve never had a felony.  I’ve never been to jail before – never.’’

There was a heavy presence of Vermilion County Sheriff’s Police as the sentence was passed.

Evidence at the trial indicated that an argument ensued in the Netta’s parking lot across from Fair Oaks between Cunningham’s adult children and the victim – Justin Jones – over a car accident.  One of the adult children, Rashon Wilson ran home to get his mother.  The State’s Attorney says Cunningham drove from her home to Netta’s – got out of her car ”and executed Justin Jones in the parking lot with a single gunshot wound from a firearm.”  The defendant fled after the shooting and was later apprehended by Danville Police and U.S. Marshalls.