Jury finds Waukegan man guilty of murder in 24-year-old woman's slaying
A Lake County jury deliberated just over an hour Thursday before finding a 51-year-old Waukegan man guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old woman outside a house party in June 2017.
Jurors also found that Farid S. Rakin discharged a weapon causing death of Ciera Davis, a finding that could extend his prison term to life in prison when he's sentenced April 9.
The deadly shooting followed a fight at the party that spilled out to where the cars were parked, according to witnesses.
During closing arguments Thursday, Rakin attorney Katherine Hatch told jurors her client acted in self-defense when he shot seven times at Davis' SUV outside a Waukegan home, striking her twice.
Witnesses testified this week that Davis rammed Rakin's parked car with her SUV several times before the shooting.
"This was not Farid versus Ciera Davis. It's Farid versus a 3-ton vehicle," Hatch said.
But Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Jim Newman argued that the path of the bullets Rakin fired show he was not in serious danger. If Davis was trying to drive into Rakin, he likely would have shot her through the windshield, but the bullets instead came from a passenger's-side window, he said.
"He was to the side and was blowing her away," Newman said, arguing that Davis was trying to drive away when Rakin shot her.
Over the course of the four-day trial, prosecutors called 13 witnesses, including several who were at the house party.
Rakin, the lone witness for the defense, took the stand earlier Thursday and testified that he was trying to disable Davis' SUV when he started shooting.
Newman and Rakin frequently spoke over each other during cross-examination, leading Judge Patricia Fix to admonish both several times.
While awaiting sentencing, Rakin will remain in custody at the Lake County jail, where he's been since his arrest in Wisconsin in August 2017.
After the verdict, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim thanks his office's prosecutors and the Waukegan Police Department for their work on the case.
"Our hearts continue to go out to the family of the victim," he said.