VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. — A guilty verdict was returned Thursday afternoon following the defense portion and closing statement in the trial of a Herrick man charged with First Degree Murder.
Wayne Newlin is charged with Accountability in the December 29 murder of Jeremy Morgan in rural Herrick. Michael Pease of Pana is currently serving 45 years for his part in the murder.
Defense attorney Walter Lookofsky cross examined Illinois State Police investigator Brett Shearer, and questioned ISP Sgt. Matt McCormick, both who interrogated Newlin at the Pana Police Department
He also recalled Heather Thomas for additional questioning.
The defense rested after McCormick’s testimony. Newlin chose not to testify.
In closing statements, appellate prosecutor Ed Parkinson argued that “although he did not pull the trigger – Pease did that – he (Newlin) was involved in the plan to do away with Jeremy Morgan.”
“If he participated in a plan, he didn’t have to pull the trigger. One person pulled the trigger but two people devised the plan,” Parkinson said. “Newlin aided, abetted and facilitated. It was his gun, his ammo, hit tractor, his plastic. He found a person cold-blooded enough to do it. It’s his fault Jeremy Morgan is no longer with us.”
“In the video, his own words convicted him. ‘I should have called the whole thing off, but I didn’t. I just let him (Pease) go ahead’,” Parkinson told the jury.
Lookofsky argued that Newlin was just venting his frustration, but Pease, who admitted he had trouble reading people, took what Newlin said literally and carried out the murder.
“Newlin was doing nothing but venting,” Lookofsky said.
“During the interrogation, the officers wore him down and he repeated back what they asked him,” Lookofsky continued. “The evidence rests on the testimony of Michael Pease and his self-serving interests.”
In his rebuttal, Parkinson argued that Michael Pease would not have killed Morgan were it not by the solicitation by Wayne Newlin.
The 11 man, 1 woman jury spent just a little over an hour in deliberations before reaching the guilty verdict.
Newlin will be sentenced on November 9 in Shelby County Court.