Sentencing set for Feb. 16
After deliberating Friday for four hours, a jury returned with a guilty verdict for Quenton D. Whiteside, 25, of Galva.
Whiteside was found guilty of Class X felony attempted murder, and Class 3 felonies of aggravated battery/great bodily harm and aggravated battery/use of a deadly weapon.
Charges dismissed by the state included two Class X felony counts of armed robbery/no firearm and Class 2 felony robbery.
Sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 16.
Whiteside’s brother, Jamar T., 22, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 24 months probation, court costs, drug treatment and credit for 236 days served. All other charges were dismissed by the state, including Class X felony attempted murder, Class 3 felonies of aggravated battery/great bodily harm, and aggravated battery/use deadly weapon.
The two brothers and Caine D. Ingram, 19, of Kewanee were charged with allegedly stabbing Michael W. Palmer, 20, of Burlington, Iowa and striking him with an axe handle on April 17 at a Galva home. Palmer suffered significant injuries including multiple skull fractures and multiple stab wounds puncturing his lung and lacerating his liver.
Ingram has a jury pretrial conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Whiteside on the stand
Quenton Whiteside took the stand Friday on the last day of his jury trial.
Whiteside said he knew Palmer through co-defendants Caine Ingram and his brother Jamar Whiteside.
He testified he drove to Burlington, Iowa, with Ingram and his brother to pick up Palmer and bring him back to Kewanee on April 12 or 13 where they hung around at a house where Palmer’s mother lived.
Whiteside said Palmer was fidgety, and had a gun and methamphetamine on him. He said he left Palmer with Ingram and his brother and went to a friend’s house.
He said he next saw Palmer on April 15. Palmer claimed Ingram stole four grams of meth from him and owed him $480. Whiteside said they were all in his car, Palmer had a gun on his lap and that Palmer told Ingram he was going to “smoke” him and his family if he didn’t get his money.
Whiteside said he paid the $480 and believed everything was fine.
Late on April 16 Whiteside said he fell asleep with his younger siblings in the living room when he was awakened by Palmer slamming the front door open and walking into the house.
Whiteside said Palmer told him he was going to kill everyone in the house, then turned the laser light on the BB gun and pointed it at the sleeping children.
Whiteside said he told his brother to get everyone out of the house and asked Ingram to call the police. He said he saw Palmer move his hand toward the gun again and that’s when he grabbed an axe handle and struck Palmer’s hand and mouth.
Whiteside said the two wrestled from room to room. “He was strong, he was really strong.”
Palmer ran to the back porch where Whiteside said he was finally able to put a choke hold on him until Palmer passed out.
Whiteside said he once again told Ingram and his brother to call the police, and after taking a shower he left. He said he saw his picture on the TV news early the next morning and when he found out he was wanted for attempted murder he turned himself in.
In his closing argument State’s Attorney Matthew Schutte told the jury that the victim ended up with 47 stab wounds; seven to the head and 40 to the torso. Schutte said Whiteside smashed Palmer’s head with an axe handle, then either he alone or he and Ingram stabbed him.
Ingram was found by Galva Police Chief Kraig Townsend cleaning the basement stairs. He told Townsend he had knives in his pocket and that he stabbed Palmer, then later recanted.
Defense attorney James Cosby told the jury, “We plead this case as self-defense.” He said Whiteside denied armed robbery and stabbing. Cosby also questioned why Ingram’s bloody shirt was not introduced as evidence, and noted that Ingram had three knives, meth, a scrubber sponge and cash on him. Cosby said he believed Ingram had cash because he took the money from Palmer while he was unconscious.
Cosby also asked why only 15 samples of blood were taken out of a possible 300 stains. He also wanted to know who finally did call the police, since it was not Ingram or Jamar Whiteside. “When you don’t know,” Cosby said, “the defendant wins.”
Cosby also said that every blow from Whiteside was a reasonable use of force.
Testimony from Dec. 6 and 7
Illinois State Trooper Brian Masters testified he interviewed co-defendant Caine Ingram, 19, on the April 17 and said a couple of things “really stood out” to him. He said Ingram was mumbling, thick-tongued and slurring his speech. Masters said Ingram told him he would probably test positive for marijuana, then recanted and said he was a recovering drug addict.
ISP Trooper Tad Nelson testified he assisted in the collection of evidence, took fingerprints and obtained DNA samples from all three defendants.
Video testimony from Ingram being interviewed by Henry County Det. Joe Bedford was presented to the jury.
Ingram admitted he had smoked meth that day, and he was wearing an orange sweatshirt but he got too hot, there was blood on it and he took it off. He also admitted he carried a blue-handled pocket knife, and that he was in the process of cleaning up blood when Galva police chief Kraig Townsend arrived.
Ingram also said he and Quenton Whiteside put Palmer on a blanket and dragged him to the basement. He told Bedford that two children were sleeping on the couch when the fight broke out and their mother “grabbed the kids and ran out of the house.
“It all started in the living room,” Caine said.