Victim testifies in first day of Marion County double-shooting trial

MARION COUNTY — The jury trial of a 22-year-old Chicago man accused of the June shooting of two men at Laura Leake Park in Centralia got underway Wednesday morning in Marion County Court, with jury selection and testimony from the state’s first witnesses.

Darius Holliday (Source: MCSO)
Darius Holliday
(Source: MCSO)

Darius Holliday is charged with two Class X counts aggravated battery by discharging a firearm. A Class X felony is punishable by between 6 and 30 years in prison if convicted.

Holliday is accused of shooting 52-year-old Juan Hayes, of Chicago, and 19-year-old Devale Johnson Jr., of Georgia.

Both Johnson and Hayes were treated at St. Louis area hospitals for gunshot wounds to their legs and were ultimately released.

Johnson was the first witness the state called to the stand Wednesday He testified about the events that day that led to him being shot.

Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense met Tuesday in Marion County Court to address last minute motions filed in the case. One motion that was granted on a limited basis addressed introducing at trial pending charges against Johnson.

A defense motion to prohibit Holliday’s prior convictions being introduced at trial was denied. Holliday has two prior felony convictions in Vermillion County, starting with a 2012 case for which he was convicted of felony possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison in that case.

He was also convicted in a 2013 case for felony mob action and sentenced to two years in prison.

A second defense motion to keep Holliday’s purported associations out of evidence was granted Tuesday without objection.

Five more prosecution witnesses followed Johnson Wednesday, including the first police officers on the scene and ended with Centralia Police Detective Blaine Uhls testifying before the jury was adjourned for the day at 4 p.m.

The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.