Wanted: Man convicted of killing Rockford rapper skips trial

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — William Arzate was found guilty of killing Rockford rapper William Pickering (aka EBE Bandz, Billy Da Kid) on Thursday, after he failed to appear for his trial. He is currently at large.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney J Hanley said the trial was conducted in his absence. Arzate is wanted for murder, failure to appear in court, and harassment of a witness.

Arzate was one of three men charged in connection with the crime. A fourth man, Colton Kennicker, 22, was arrested in Mesa, Arizona in February 2021 on murder charges connected to the case.

22-year-old Dakota Graff previously pleaded guilty to the murder Pickering.

23-year-old Manuel Ramirez was sentenced to 180-days in jail in February for the charge of Concealment of a Homicidal Death.

Kennicker’s case is still pending.

William Arzate, Manuel Ramirez, Dakota Graff at the time of their initial arrests. Photos: Winnebago County Jail

On Saturday, June 1st, 2019, Rockford Police officers went to the Pickering’s home in the 500 block of Fisher Avenue, behind the Valencia Apartments, to conduct a welfare check.

Police say that even though his vehicle was at the location, they could not locate Pickering.

The investigation led them to 5200 Indianhead Avenue on June 20th, where the crime scene was located, police said.

Further information led police to an undisclosed location in unincorporated Winnebago County where Pickering’s remains were found.

William Pickering

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rockford Police Department at 815-966-2900 or leave an anonymous tip with Rockford Area Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867.

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