Two suspects accused in a Rockford triple homicide entered pleas of ‘Not Guilty’ at an arraignment hearing in Winnebago County court on Tuesday.
Raheem King and his girlfriend, Lakeacia Kizart, said they were not involved in last month’s deadly shooting aboard a chartered party bus.
King is accused of using an assault-style rifle to kill his victims, Sean Anderson, Martavies Blake and Daijon Sistrunk.
Kizart is accused of hiding him from the police.
The families of the victims were present at the hearing, and spoke about the fond memories they hold of their murdered loved ones.
Erica Franklin, Sean Anderson’s sister, remembers “He’s so full of joy. Every time he says no, he smiles. You can never really make him mad.”
Franklin says she was shocked to learn that King was the suspected killer. She says he and Anderson were close friends.
“To call him your friend and be, like, this close and kickin’ with somebody every day… and then for you to turn around and do that! It’s like…nobody deserves it,” she said.
Deandra, Anderson’s other sister, says she’ll always remember Sean as a family man. Richardson says she’s heartbroken that Anderson’s five children will have to grow up without their father.
“Who wants to just throw their life away, when they have so many kids?” she asks. “Now, all these kids have no father.”
Sistrunk’s sister, Jaia Campbell, says she’ll miss the man she considered a role model.
“He was actually a very intellectual individual. He was very uplifting, outgoing,” Campbell said.
She recalls her younger brother as a jokester, and initially thought word of his death was just a prank.
“It wasn’t real. It was fake,” is how she describes the feeling after hearing the news. “He joked around a lot, so I’m thinking maybe he’s gonna pop up around the corner and say, ‘Gotcha! I’m kidding with you.”
Now, all that’s left for the three grieving families is the hope that justice will be served.
“I definitely hope they’re all convicted, guilty,” said Campell. “They all played the part.”
Kizart is due back in court tomorrow. King’s attorney filed for a re-assignment and will be transferred to a courtroom on May 22nd.