KANKAKEE — Ricky J. Kendrick Jr. testified on Wednesday that he heard five shots as he walked away from where his cousin, Dannie L. Kendrick Jr., is alleged to have shot Joseph “Joe Buck” Buckner III on Nov. 25, 2011.
Dannie Kendrick is charged with murder and armed robbery. His trial continued today in the Kankakee County Courthouse.
The now 27-year-old Kendrick is alleged to have forced Buckner out of his vehicle at gunpoint and demanded money. Investigators said Kendrick got $250, of which he is alleged to have given $30 to his cousin, who was charged in the shooting.
Ricky Kendrick is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to armed robbery with a dangerous weapon in August 2014.
On Wednesday morning, Kendrick told First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Kosman he would not testify. However, he had a change of heart while the trial was recessed for lunch.
Kosman asked Kendrick if he had an agreement with the state’s attorney office for his testimony.
“No sir,” Kendrick said. His legs were shackled and two Illinois Department of Corrections officers stood next to the witness stand while he testified.
Kosman asked Ricky Kendrick what he and Dannie were doing in the 600 block of South Lincoln Avenue.
“We were going to break into a house,” Kendrick said.
Kosman asked why they didn’t break into the home.
“I forget the reason we didn’t rob the house,” Kendrick said.
Ricky Kendrick said he and Dannie both had semi-automatic handguns. Dannie’s was a 9 mm .380 caliber. Shell casings collected at the crime scene and two bullets taken from Buckner’s chest area were .380 caliber.
When they saw a man getting into a black Dodge Charger, Dannie Kendrick said they were going to rob him. Ricky Kendrick said he recognized the man to be Buckner, who he had known all his life.
When Dannie Kendrick said they were going to rob Buckner, Ricky Kendrick said he refused. He was on the other side of the 600 block of South Lincoln Avenue when his cousin yelled at Buckner to get out of the car and demanded his money.
A short time later, Ricky Kendrick heard the shots and said he started to run to his grandmother’s house. On the way there, Dannie Kendrick stopped him.
“He said he had to shoot him because he grabbed his gun,” Ricky Kendrick said. The two then went to the home of one of Dannie Kendrick’s relatives.
Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott granted Dannie Kendrick’s attorney Dawn Landwehr’s motion to recall Ricky Kendrick to the stand today. Landwehr and assistant public defender Benjamin Lawson wanted time to review four videos of investigators questioning the cousins.