UPDATED: Warrant issued for Champaign man wanted for murder of Brandon Smith

UPDATED: Warrant issued for Champaign man wanted for murder of Brandon Smith

CHAMPAIGN — A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 20-year-old Champaign man, wanted for Friday’s murder of Brandon Smith.

On Monday night, Champaign police said a warrant for murder was issued for Jaki G. Pearson, 20, of Champaign. 

Mr. Smith was shot at approximately 12:44 a.m. Friday in the 1200 block of North McKinley Ave. He died from his injuries a short time later at Carle Hospital.

Pearson is currently serving a sentence of probation for aggravated DUI stemming from his July 5, 2016 arrest. He pleaded guilty to that charge in February. 

Lt. Dave Shaffer said “good detective work” and “productive interviews” led to police getting the warrant for Pearson.

Judge Heidi Ladd issued the warrant, which carries a bond of $1 million, on Friday.

“We’ve been looking for him since. That’s the pressing thing. Hopefully, somebody will do the right thing and let us know where he’s at or he’ll do the right thing and turn himself in,” Shaffer said Monday night.

While not wanting to reveal a motive, Shaffer called the incident between the two men, who he described as “acquaintances, if not friends,” “incredibly superficial.”

“It was not gang-related,” he said.

Shaffer said there were others present in the common area of the apartment complex when the shooting happened.

“We’ve spoken to a number of people who provided statements that were consistent with the evidence,” he said.

Police ask that anyone with information about Pearson’s location, or the shooting of Mr. Smith, to contact CPD’s investigations division at 217-403-6900.

Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 217-373-8477, going online to 373tips.com or using the P3 Tips mobile app. 

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Berto71 wrote on September 04, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Yeah. The July 2016 DIU arrest mentioned in the article happened on campus and was done by the UI police, https://illinois.edu/blog/view/6221/381035

The car, for driving which Perason was arrested, had two ulicensed guns under the seats, with one of the guns having had its serial numbers filed off. The original UIPD press release said from that date said that Perason was charged, in particular, with unlawful use of weapons. However, looking at the case records at the Champaign County Clerk's office website, Pearson was never charged in court with any weapons related charged for that event, only with DUI related charges. He eventually cut a deal, pleaded guilty to the aggravated DUI charge and got probation. It would be interesting to know why the gun charge was never filed in that case. 

rsp wrote on September 05, 2017 at 12:09 am

That story wasn't on the NG. The one on the NG had this line:

A search of the car turned up two guns, one under the seat where Thompson had been, and another under Harris’ seat.

So there were three people were in the car, all were charged with the guns initially, and after everything was resolved only the two who had them under their seats kept the charges. If his prints or DNA had been on one of the guns or there was some other connection to him they would have still charged him. As it stands, those were dropped in regards to him. Unfortunately he didn't learn from his buddies going to prison for just possessing guns. He's charged with killing someone. Over something stupid.

Glock21 wrote on September 05, 2017 at 2:09 am

If the police would like people who have seen him to call, a picture would really help us know if we have. Given his past arrest I'm assuming y'all got a mug shot at least.