In the months leading up to her shooting death, Stacey Jones, a Cook County probation officer who was eight months pregnant, told family and friends that the father of her unborn child threatened her and told her he didn’t want more children, prosecutors alleged.
But when she didn’t get an abortion, Corey Deering, the father, who was married to another woman, “hatched a plan” to end her life, along with that of her child, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Papa alleged during opening statements Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court building.
Deering, 42, is standing trial on two counts of murder in the fatal shooting of Jones, 35, and the death of the infant, known as Baby Boy Harrison, who doctors delivered after the attack but who only lived for four days.
Prosecutors began presenting witnesses Tuesday, as emotional family members sat in the gallery.
“Stacey Jones did not live to see the birth of her baby,” Papa said. “Stacey was left there bleeding, dying on the front step of her home.”
Prosecutors accused Deering of shooting Jones three times in the back around midnight on Oct. 13, 2020 outside of her Jeffery Manor home, while Jones’ two sons, then 7 and 11, slept inside. They said he was driven to the home by Camelia Blackmond, another woman he was involved with who was also pregnant with his child.
Deering’s defense attorney Patrick Campanelli, though, pointed the finger at Blackmond, who he said had a motive as a romantic rival of Jones. Campanelli said his client was a youth football coach and has 12 children.
“She was wiping out the competition,” Campanelli said of Blackmond, who gave birth to Deering’s daughter two days after Jones’ death.
Earlier in the evening on Oct. 12, Papa alleged, Deering called Blackmond and asked for a ride. Deering told her to park a little distance from Jones’ house, and got out of the vehicle, Papa said. Blackmond then heard the gunshots, prosecutors said.
Through tears, Blackmond told the jury she didn’t know why Deering asked her for a ride or where he was directing her to drive.
In her opening statement, Papa said Deering was lurking outside when something caught Jones’ attention, so she put her gun in her pajama pants and went to look outside. Jones and Deering interacted, Papa said, and he shot her in the back when she turned away from him.
Emergency responders arrived and found Jones unresponsive, Papa said, but doctors were able to deliver her son alive. The baby died on Oct. 17, 2020. In a photo shown to the jury, Baby Boy Harrison was swaddled in a blue blanket.
Chicago Tribune editors’ top story picks, delivered to your inbox each afternoon.
Papa said the medical examiner’s office determined the boy died due to lack of oxygen caused by his mother’s death.
During his opening statement, Campanelli told the jury the prosecutors’ case centers around Blackmond, a “woman scorned.” He said no fingerprints or DNA tie Deering to the scene of the shooting.
“You may not like my client, but it doesn’t make him a murderer,” he said.
Both Blackmond and Jones met Deering through the youth football program at Ogden Park in Englewood, where their sons played, prosecutors said. Jones’ uncle Bryant Jones sobbed through his testimony, telling the jury he introduced Jones to Deering after hearing about the football program and suggesting her boys get involved.
Prosecutors said Deering did not want Jones to proceed with the pregnancy, and that she told friends she was scared for her life because of it.
“When the defendant told Stacey Jones he wasn’t having no more kids, he meant it,” Papa said.