BLOOMINGTON — Lawyers in a pending McLean County murder case argued Monday about the inclusion of previous, unrelated domestic violence incidents involving either the defendant or the victim, and which, if any, should be heard by a jury.
Defense lawyer Joshua Rinker told Judge Casey Costigan a jury should learn about previous domestic violence incidents involving Quantez Brown, 24, who suffered a fatal stab wound allegedly inflicted by Leila Jackson, 22, on July 17.
Rinker said that because Jackson knew that Brown had a reputation for domestic violence against women, her state of mind led her to protect herself during an argument with Brown outside her Bloomington apartment at 410 N. Roosevelt Ave. Rinker said information received from other law enforcement agencies confirmed Brown had been accused on at least two previous occasions of domestic violence.
Rinker told the judge he plans to present testimony that Jackson acted in self-defense during the argument.
“That will help establish the defense’s position that Brown was the initial aggressor in this incident,” he told Costigan. “She had a general awareness that Brown could be violent.”
Assistant State's Attorney David Rossi argued that in interviews with Bloomington police, Jackson indicated she knew about Brown’s reputation.
“She said that the ‘word on the street’ was he had beaten up women before, but we don’t know if she knew about any specifics,” he said.
Rinker also argued testimony about a previous domestic dispute between Jackson and her girlfriend 10 days before the incident should not be heard by a jury.
Rinker told the judge police were called to a local hospital where Jackson was questioned about an altercation between her and her girlfriend, but no charges were filed in the matter.
“This incident has no connection to the night in question and we don’t know in that instance if she was the perpetrator or the victim,” he said.
Rossi agreed with Rinker on the desire to avoid a "trial within a trial" — having multiple cases for a jury to consider — but said the incident should be heard by a jury.
“I would agree that we don’t want to get into a back and forth matter which could end up confusing the jury,” he said.
Costigan said he would take both matters into consideration and will have an answer before the next status hearing, which is scheduled for April 26.
Jackson remains in McLean County jail in lieu of posting $200,035.