By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – Two men accused in a fatal shooting the occurred in Rockford five years ago were found not guilty Monday by a Winnebago County jury.
Shazariyah F. Hibbett, 29, and 26-year-old Johny L. McFadden, both stood trial for first-degree murder in the death of Semarin Dubois, who was gunned down near South Henrietta Avenue and Green Street on July 4, 2013.
McFadden was represented by attorney Glen Jazweic, who told the jury there was no evidence connecting his client to the crime. He said the weakness of the state’s case became even more evident when the jury reached a verdict in 30 minutes.
Hibbett was represented by Assistant Public Defender David Doll.
The jury was presented with a bombshell of sorts when the man expected to be a star witness for the state took the stand and said he gave untrue statements to police about seeing Hibbett and McFadden kill Dubois, his best friend.
Michael Moore told detectives and later a grand jury that he saw the defendants shoot Dubois during a party. When he was on the witness stand last Thursday, he told the jury he made the statements out of “hearsay and anger.”
“I just lost my best friend. My brother,” Moore said.
Moore, who received immunity in exchange for his testimony, said that two other men told him the defendants were the shooters, but he could not remember their names. Moore picked both defendants out of a photo lineup and in his initial statement said he saw “Johny Bravo” and Hibbett, who he referred to as “Shaz” shooting toward the crowd. Moore said he saw flashes from their guns. Both assertions were not true, he testified.
“My statements were misconstrued,” Moore said.
The defendants were also charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and mob action. McFadden turned himself on Jan. 23, 2018. Hibbett was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force in February inside an apartment in the 5700 block of Forest Hills Road.
Police arrived on the scene of the shooting at around 11:30 p.m., Thursday, July 4, 2013.They Dubois was transported to the hospital where he died from a gunshot wound.
On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, Winnebago County States Attorney Joseph Bruscato and Rockford Police Chief Daniel O’Shea announced that a Winnebago County grand jury issued murder indictments for Hibbett and McFadden, both of Rockford. R.