Odd move by accused killer Duke Webb delays murder case in Don Carter Lanes shooting

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:08 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The murder case against former U.S. Army sergeant Duke Webb took an odd turn Friday morning, pushing the case back three months.

Webb, 39, is accused of opening fire on Dec. 27, 2020, inside Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, killing three people and wounding several others.

The combat veteran was scheduled for a hearing in front of Judge Joe McGraw Friday to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial.

As the hearing was getting underway, Duke stood up and asked McGraw about letter he sent the judge requesting that a report from a mental health expert his lawyers hired be excluded from the proceedings. Webb told McGraw he had issues with parts of the report, namely that it was older than 90 days.

The problem with the letter, McGraw said, is that it wasn’t filed properly and it was sent outside the purview of Webb’s lawyers.

After a brief recess, attorneys on both sides agreed to submit updated reports and reconvene for Webb’s fitness hearing on Sept. 22.

Meanwhile, stateliness residents continue to grieve the shooting they say shook the community to its core.

“With this case, this is a very grievous thing that occurred,” said Rockford minister Justin Lopez. “I’m saddened for the families of everybody involved.”

Lopez says he’s not surprised that a fitness exam was ordered in the case, not because he believes Webb is a killer or unfit, but because of a grip he says mental illness has on our society.

“You want to talk about a pandemic?” he said. “[Mental illness] is one of the pandemics in our nation.”

Rockford resident Yvonne Zackery’s friend, popular local bowler Jerome Woodford, was killed in the Don Carter Lanes shooting. She understands that Webb deserves a fair trial. But whatever the verdict, it won’t take away the pain of losing her friend.

“He’s missed by a lot of good friends and family,” she said. “He was one of my good friends. He’s missed.”

Now, with the case delayed and no trial date in sight, the community must continually reflect about how on a wintry night in 2020, a mass shooting happened in Rockford.

“The times and the days in which we live in now in our society, it seems like there’s a lot of trouble, a lot of pain,” Lopez said.

Webb’s fitness hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., Sept. 22, in Courtroom A at the Winnebago County Justice Center.