BLOOMINGTON — Seeing the two men accused of killing her son brought Dameca Kirkwood to her knees.
Kirkwood watched Friday in McLean County Circuit Court as bond was set for Quentin L. Jackson, 21, of Peoria and Jordyn Thornton, 19, of Bloomington. Both are charged with murder in the October 2018 death of her son, Trevonte Kirkwood.
Jackson was jailed in lieu of posting $100,035 and Thornton must post $150,035 to be released. Both are scheduled for arraignments June 21.
Surrounded by supporters after the hearing, Dameca Kirkwood slid down a wall outside the courtroom, taking deep breaths in an effort to regain her composure.
The reaction, she said, was a mixture of anger and pain at seeing her son's alleged assailants.
"It took my breath away," Kirkwood told reporters, "because I felt my son's anger raging through me. The anger dropped me to my knees."
Making things more difficult is the connection the Kirkwoods had to the families of the accused.
"We sat at Christmas dinner and our kids opened gifts," Kirkwood said of Quentin Jackson's family.
The Thorntons also were part of the close-knit black community, she said.
"This child's grandmother used to watch me," said Kirkwood.
But following their bond hearing, Kirkwood said, "I got to see my evil. The next is I want to know, why my son?"
Kirkwood said police shared few details during their investigation, an effort she described as "full throttle" since Oct. 30. But about two weeks after her 27-year-old son was gunned down near his home in northwest Bloomington, detectives said envy was behind the killing.
Trevonte Kirkwood had his faults, according to his mother, but he followed her rules and was a good father to his young daughter. He graduated from high school and worked. Those traits, she said, and a dispute that festered among his acquaintances, may have contributed to his death, she said.
State's Attorney Don Knapp and Bloomington police declined to provide more details of the investigation, saying the case remains ongoing.
Kirkwood said she never lost hope that authorities would make arrests. She is equally hopeful the court process will provide answers.
"I don't understand it, but we're going to get to the gist of it," she said of the motive behind her son's death.
A frequent speaker at public events since the loss of her son, Kirkwood has been an advocate for ending gun violence. "We are better than this," she said of the Twin Cities.