Second Quincy man pleads not guilty in shooting incident at Sixth, Chestnut; attorney says he was driving car while being shot at

Cayden Smith copy

Cayden Smith | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

QUINCY — A second Quincy man believed to be connected to a shooting around Sixth and Chestnut earlier this month pled not guilty Wednesday morning.

Cayden R. Smith, 18, was arraigned in Adams County Circuit Court by Judge Roger Thomson. Smith appeared with his attorney, Drew Schnack.

Officers with the Quincy Police Department responded to the area of Sixth and Chestnut on Nov. 1 for a reported shooting. Initial witness information indicated people in two vehicles were exchanging gunfire — one person was shooting through the sunroof of one of the vehicles — while traveling north on Sixth Street from Chestnut. 

Evidence found at the scene appeared to confirm that information. Investigators estimated more than 30 rounds were fired during the incident from at least two firearms (handguns).

Smith was arrested Nov. 3 when he turned himself into the Quincy Police Department. He was arrested for a warrant for aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony. He faces a sentencing range of between four and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if found guilty.

An Adams County grand jury indicted Smith on Nov. 17, determining that he knowingly discharged a firearm at a vehicle, knowing the vehicle to be occupied.

Smith is lodged in the Adams County Jail. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

The case was placed on the Jan. 9 jury docket. 

When Thomson asked assistant state’s attorney Todd Eyler if he would be prepared to try the case in January to assure it met the 120-day speedy trial period, Eyler replied, “I can’t say that, because I don’t know that we have all the forensics yet, but we’ll deal with that accordingly. The case was just filed on Nov. 1, and we’re well within speedy trial (limits).”

Schnack filed a motion of affirmative defense on Tuesday. In an affirmative defense, the defendant introduces evidence which, if found to be credible, will negate criminal liability, even if it is proven that the defendant committed the alleged acts. The party raising the affirmative defense has the burden of proof on establishing that it applies.

Asked after the hearing why he filed the affirmative defense motion, Schnack said, “At least right now, all the police reports that we have indicate the only thing Cayden was doing was driving a car trying to get away from people who were shooting at him. The last time I looked, that wasn’t a crime. That was just smart.”

Another man believed to be involved in the shooting, Chaeto D. Nichols, 18, of Quincy, pled not guilty Tuesday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. He is charged with aggravated charge of a firearm, as well as threatening a public official and obstructing a police officer in another incident unrelated to the shooting incident. He is lodged in the Adams County Jail on a $1 million bond and his next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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