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Man pleads guilty in shooting that killed 14-year-old football phenom Jaylon McKenzie

Three people were charged with various offenses related to the shooting.

MADISON COUNTY, Illinois — A man has pleaded guilty in the 2019 shooting that killed 14-year-old Jaylon McKenzie. 

The Madison County Prosecutor's Office confirms Maurice Dickerson plead guilty on November 28th. 

The day before what would be McKenzie's 18th birthday.

By eighth grade, McKenzie already received national attention for his football skills. Sports Illustrated featured him in an article titled, ‘Six teens who will rule the future in sports.’ 

He already received scholarship offers from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois. 

READ: 'He left a lasting impression' | Jaylon McKenzie's mom talks about his legacy

Three people were charged with various offenses related to the shooting.

The charges stem from an incident at about 11:40 p.m. on May 4, 2019. Several students and teenagers were gathered at a post-prom house party in Venice, Illinois.

McKenzie’s mom, Sukeena Gunner, said her son was there when a fight broke out.  She said he walked outside to leave the party to avoid the fight when a stray bullet hit him. McKenzie later died from his injuries.

On June 12, 2019, about five weeks after the shooting, the Madison County State’s Attorney filed a charge of aggravated discharge of a weapon against Dickerson. 

The prosecutor’s office said Dickerson, who was 19 at the time, knowingly shot a gun in the direction of another person or persons.

On September 9th, 2020, prosecutors filed two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm against Larrion Shelby. 

Charging documents said Shelby, who also was 19 at the time, shot into a building in the 700 block of Third Street in Venice, Illinois, and fired the gun again a block down the road. 

In April of 2021, Jaylen M. Staten, 20 at the time of the charge, was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

There is a status hearing on March 6, 2022, for Dickerson. 

The sentencing will occur after trials are held for other defendants involved in the shooting.

On November 29, McKenzie's family hosted a parade for his 18th birthday. 

Credit: Sukeena Gunner

The family has created the Jaylon “6” McKenzie-Rising Star Foundation

The organization works to empower other kids to be motivated, determined, and to never give up.


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