|Yolanda Holmes with son Qawmane Wilson|
(2010) (from her Facebook page)
On Labor Day weekend in 2012, Uptowners were shocked to learn of a murder in the then-new Wilson Yard apartments. The much-loved owner of a Buena Park hair salon had been stabbed and shot by an intruder while asleep in her bed.
She was remembered as a vivacious and generous woman who loved her family, particularly her 22-year-old son, Qawmane Wilson, who frequently was seen at the shop with her while he was growing up. She had been featured in news stories when the Wilson Yard apartments and Target opened, saying that she and her family "now have a safe and stable home."
It was shocking when arrests were made in her murder more than a year later. Her son, Qawmane, was accused of masterminding the scheme, staying off-site while paying his friend, Eugene Spencer, then 22, to go to the apartment to commit the actual murder. Loriana Johnson, then 23, was charged for her role as the lookout and getaway driver.
The motive for the murder was allegedly to get access to Ms. Holmes' savings, and to cash out her two life insurance policies, so that Qawmane could further his career as an aspiring rap artist, "Young QC."
His own behavior was what made police suspect him. He did a video that showed him throwing hundred dollar bills to his adoring fans, "giving back" to the neighborhood. He filmed himself buying designer clothes and adding upgrades to the Camaro his mother had bought him.
After an unbelievably long six years of pretrial proceedings, Qawmane Wilson and Eugene Spencer's cases both finally went to trial this month, with separate juries.
Yesterday, the jury assigned to Qawmane Wilson found him guilty, after only two hours of deliberation, of first-degree murder, home invasion, and attempted murder.
Eugene Spencer's jury found him guilty of the same three counts this afternoon. Both men will return to the courtroom in April for sentencing hearings.
The getaway driver, Loriana Johnson, was found guilty in 2015 of Armed Robbery and was sentenced to 14 years. With time served, and using Illinois' day-served equals day-credit policy, she is due to be released in 2020. She has always claimed that she was told the crime she was an accomplice to was robbery, not murder.
As more information is released, we'll keep you informed.