Surveillance Video At the Center of Motions Preceding Jacksonville’s Wilson Murder Trial

By Benjamin Cox on January 23, 2023 at 8:45am

The murder trial of a Jacksonville man will have to wait on an upcoming motion to be heard in March.

39 year old Joshua E. Wilson appeared in Morgan County Court in front of visiting Macoupin County Judge Kenneth Diehl on Friday. Wilson is accused of three counts of first degree murder in the shooting death of 26-year-old Malcolm V. Fitts of Chicago and formerly of Jacksonville on February 28, 2021.

Fitts died of multiple gunshot wounds at Jacksonville Memorial Hospital after being transported from the parking lot of the Turner High Rise Apartment complex.

The case has gone through several hurdles over the last nearly two years, due to Covid-19 and other cases slowing down the course of the case. In August of last year, the biggest problem arose when Wilson’s defense counsel Marcus Shantz told the court that he was missing a thumb drive of video surveillance footage from the Morgan County Housing Authority property after it was removed from an envelope sent in the mail to his office by the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s office. State’s Attorney Gray Noll told the court in August that they directly sent the files to Shantz’s office electronically.

A jury trial setting was canceled in the case in November and more time for review of evidence was given in a follow-up hearing in December.

State’s Attorney Gray Noll says Friday’s hearing amounted to the submission of a motion to suppress the video evidence that arrived back in August: “Mr. Wilson’s attorney, Marc Shantz filed a motion that was entitled “A Motion to Prohibit the Introduction of Certain Video Evidence.” The State was just handed the copy [on Friday afternoon], but based on the conversations with Mr. Wilson’s attorney, it sounds like he is asking that the video surveillance [footage] that the State would be introducing into their case in chief…he is asking that the videos be suppressed and not be allowed to introduce it.”

Also introduced on Friday to both sides was some subpoenaed medical records from JMH, which are currently in review. Noll says after the motion is heard the case will likely proceed to trial.

In Shanz’s motion to suppress, he says that no camera was positioned to capture the actual shooting on February 28, 2021 and the files are incomplete and defective due to time lapses. Shanz says the lapses show approximately 34 minutes missing. Noll says that’s the nature of the surveillance system at the Hi Rise: “They have a system that is a motion activated system.”

Shanz says in the motion to the court that due to the time gaps and the positioning of cameras, the defense will argue that the crime in question could have just as easily been committed by a pedestrian on foot than by Wilson.

The motion is expected to be heard on March 23rd.