Grand jury to review case of Quincy man facing first-degree murder charges in Jefferson Street shooting

Weems in court

Victor Weems is escorted from an Adams County courtroom after making an appearance Tuesday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. In the background at left is Matt Wayman, who entered an appearance Tuesday as Weems' attorney. | David Adam

QUINCY — A grand jury on Thursday will review the case of a Quincy man facing first-degree murder charges, and his arraignment is scheduled for next week.

Victor Weems, 19, appeared in Adams County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning before Judge Tad Brenner. Matt Wayman with the Hammer Law Firm in St. Louis told Brenner he was there to represent Weems on the first-degree murder charge.

When Brenner asked if he would be entering an appearance in other cases involving Weems, Wayman replied, “I’ve had a conversation with the family about that. Due to the seriousness and nature of the (first-degree murder) case, I’d like to come up with some sort of resolution to all the matters. At that point, I would enter my appearance.”

Weems was arrested Jan. 1 during a raid at an apartment complex at 3100 State. He was formally charged with first-degree murder in the May 2023 shooting death of 47-year-old Dana Lawton, who was shot in the head while sitting on the front porch of Pam Droege’s 1112 Jefferson Street home. 

Weems was involved in an altercation near 12th and Jefferson and allegedly fired a shot during the incident. The bullet traveled more than a block and struck Lawton. 

The charge carries a possible sentence of 45 years to natural life in prison because of a 25-year added enhancement since a firearm was used in the murder.

Weems also is facing a charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, a Class 1 felony, in connection to the first-degree murder charge. 

Weems is facing the following charges that were filed on Jan. 3, 2023, in connection with a December 2022 incident:

  • Obstruction of justice/destroying evidence, a Class 4 felony;
  • Causing a child to be endangered, a Class A misdemeanor; 
  • Reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor.

Weems is facing the following charges that were filed on March 30, 2023, in connection with an incident in the 900 block of Country Club Heights:

  • Home invasion/cause injury, a Class X felony;
  • Aggravated battery to a pregnant person, a Class 3 felony;
  • Criminal damage to property of more than $500 but less than $10,000, a Class 4 felony;
  • Domestic battery/bodily harm, a Class A misdemeanor.

He also was charged in May 2023, a few days before the Lawton shooting, with receiving or possessing a stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony.

A petition to revoke probation also was filed in January 2023. He was on probation for felony unlawful possession of cannabis and misdemeanor obstructing identification charges after he was arrested in March 2022.

If the grand jury determines if criminal charges should be brought against Weems, an arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 before Brenner.

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