A Vermilion County Circuit Court jury has found a Danville man not guilty of first-degree murder in a 2009 shooting. Jurors deliberated about two hours Thursday afternoon before finding Lafayette Harper innocent.
Four years ago Harper was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the October 24th, 2009 shooting death of Timothy Shutes Junior. The victim was twenty when he was shot at Danville’s Elmwood Park. Testimony had indicated the shooting occurred during a drug deal.
The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that evidence regarding cell phone text messages should not have been allowed to be introduced during Harper’s first trial. The Appellate Court remanded the case back to Vermilion County for a new trial which began on Monday.
A co-defendant in the case, Daveion Harper of Danville, was earlier sentenced to 30 years in prison in connection with Shute’s death.