After two days of deliberations a DuPage County jury today convicted Semaj Walker 25, of Chicago, of the 2007 murder of a Villa Park man in his home while he was being robbed of cash and credit cards.
Walker was the last of four Chicago men charged with the murder of James Keniski, and the defendant that Assistant States Attorney Steven Knight said in his closing arguments on Friday actually committed the murder.
According to testimony in the trial that began Wednesday, Walker, 25, and three others Man convicted in '07 murder, robbery in Villa Parktraveled to Villa Park on May 16, 2007, with the intention of robbing Keniski, 46, at his home in the 0-100 block of North Addison Road.
Members of the group knew of Keniski through a mutual acquaintance and believed that he had a large amount of cash and some credit cards at his home.
Keniski was beaten severely during the robbery, suffering 16 broken ribs, a torn liver and head trauma, and died in a coma of his injuries nine days later.
All four men were charged with his murder, but prosecutors contend that it was Semaj that struck the fatal blows, by brutally beating Keniski and then throwing him over a bannister and down a flight of basement stairs.
Two of the others who were charged with the crime, Joshua Gordon and Dywayne Head, both pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified against Walker. Gordon was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Head was sentenced to 20.
A fourth defendant, Ray Moore, who was a 17-year-old Crane High School junior when this happened, rejected plea negotiations and was convicted by a DuPage County jury last year of murder, home invasion and armed robbery. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Knight said that Walker was convicted of residential burglary, home invasion and one count of murder committed during a felony, while acquitting him on another count of murder committed intentionally.
Walker is to be sentenced next month after post-trial motions are filed.