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Jury finds Richardson guilty of murder in deputy’s death

Court news from Tri States Public Radio.

A Henry County jury deliberated for about three hours Thursday before delivering a verdict in the case of a man accused of killing Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Weist.

Daylon K. Richardson, 24, was found guilty of two counts of murder related to Weist’s death on April 29, 2022, on U.S. Route 150 south of Alpha.

Weist was setting spike strips in the road to stop a high-speed chase that started in Galesburg that morning when he was struck by Richardson’s vehicle.

Speeds reached 110 mph in the chase, which started when Richardson waved a gun in the air at a Galesburg gas station.

Richardson’s attorney, Bruce Carmen, argued for a lesser charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, saying there was no proof Richardson intended to kill Weist and that he didn’t know he was a peace officer.

Carmen also argued that Weist was off-duty at the time and not performing official duties as a peace officer.

But the jury found Richardson was aware Weist was a peace officer.

Weist’s shift had just ended that morning and he received approval from his supervisor to begin putting down the spike strips.

It’s likely that Weist’s actions saved lives. Less than a mile north of where he was struck and killed on U.S. Route 15, students at AlWood Elementary School were crossing the highway to get to school.

Weist, a father of two, studied law enforcement at Western Illinois University.

Richardson will be sentenced May 24.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.