A former Freeport, Illinois man was convicted late yesterday of witness retaliation by a federal jury in U.S. District Court in Rockford following a two-day jury trial. Damon Rucker, 36, was found guilty of causing bodily injury to a witness on December 20, 2012, with intent to retaliate against the witness for testifying against Rucker in federal court.
According to the incitement and evidence at trial, Rucker was initially convicted in federal court in Rockford on July 31, 2012, having pled guilty to a drug trafficking crime. A co-defendant, who also pled guilty in that case, agreed to cooperate with the government and testified against Rucker during Rucker’s sentencing hearing.
On December 20, 2012, Rucker, with intent to retaliate against the co-defendant for testifying, slammed the witness’s head against a concrete wall while both were in custody. At the time, the victim was in the process of being transported to a different jail and was in hand and leg shackles. Rucker was not shackled at the time.
Rucker faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, in addition to a term of supervised release of up to five years following his imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. The court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. in federal court in Rockford. The conviction was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States Marshals Service and the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and John G. McKenzie.