Weems looking at life sentence in connection with May 2023 shooting

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Victor Weems enters an Adams County courtroom Tuesday afternoon with Adams County Sheriff's bailiff Steve Traubitz. - Pool photo by Matt Hopf, Herald-Whig

QUINCY — Victor A. Weems III heard a litany of charges read against him in Adams County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon after more than seven months on the run from authorities.

Weems, 19, of Quincy, who was arrested Monday 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 her Jefferson St. home.

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 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.

Weems was on probation during the time of the Lawton shooting. He had been charged with home invasion, aggravated battery, criminal damage of property, domestic battery and theft in connection with a March 2023 home invasion in the 900 block of Country Club Heights. Weems allegedly beat a pregnant woman in that incident.

Weems also faces charges of obstructing justice, endangering the life or health of a child and reckless driving in connection with another event in Dec. 2022 and a count of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle from May 2023, a few days before the Lawton shooting.

Weems appeared before Judge Robert Adrian. Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones asked for Weems to continue to be held in the Adams County Jail because of the seriousness of the charges and Weems remaining on the run. Adrian granted the motion to detain Weems.

Weems was represented at his first appearance by Public Defender Todd Nelson, but said he planned to hire private counsel before his next court appearance on Jan. 16.

Victor Weems, right, sits in Adams County Circuit Court with his attorney, Public Defender Todd Nelson and Assistant State’s Attorneys Josh Jones and Ryan Parker – Pool Photo by Matt Hopf, Herald-Whig

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