When 20-year-old Wesley Woodson appears in court next week, where he is charged with the shooting death of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman, it won’t be the first time he’s faced firearms charges.
Wesley Woodson, 20, is set to enter a plea Oct. 30 on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with Dajae’s death Sept. 22. Just three months earlier, however, a judge ruled him not guilty of possession of a firearm in public or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after an incident dating to spring 2011. That incident is one of several criminal offenses Woodson has been charged with in the past, including possession of a controlled substance.
Dajae, who had just started his freshman year at Evanston Township High School, was shot as he was walking home from a party down Church Street, according to Evanston police. Woodson showed up, carrying a 9-millimeter gun, after a friend called him to tell him that a group of people he knew had gotten into a fight at the party, according to police.
Dajae Coleman: The Story So Far
When Woodson saw Dajae and his friends, , according to police. Dajae and his friends tried to run away, but as they were running, Dajae was shot in the back, police said. The bullet exited through his chest, and he died at the scene.
Police say Woodson was a member of the Gangster Disciples, a local street gang, and described the shooting as “a retaliatory act upon an innocent group of teens with no gang affiliations.”
Woodson’s prior weapons charges relate to an incident that took place just a half-mile north, on May 20, 2011. Evanston police arrested Woodson and two other young men that day after they threatened another man in Butler Park with a 40-caliber handgun loaded with nine rounds of ammunition, according to court records.
Woodson was charged with possession of a firearm in public and three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. William N. Perkins, who was 19 at the time, was charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and Evan Xavier Spaulding, who was also 19, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm in public and four counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Woodson entered a plea of not guilty in that case, and waived a jury trial, according to court records. On July 12, 2012, Judge Lauren Gottainer Edidin issued a finding of not guilty. She found Spaulding not guilty the same day, while Perkins was sentenced to two years in prison on Aug. 25, 2012.
A representative from the state’s attorney’s office told Patch that they do not comment on judge’s rulings after they are issued, nor do they comment on pending cases. Michael Krejci, who served as Woodson’s lawyer in that case and who is representing him again in the current murder case, did not immediately respond to a phone call from Patch.
Woodson prior arrests relate to mostly lesser offenses. In 2008 and 2010, he was charged with retail theft, but both cases were dropped. In March 2011, he was charged with a local liquor offense, which was judged a non-suit. In December 2011, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of cannabis. He pled not guilty in January 2010, and that case is still ongoing. On Sept. 17, 2012, a week before police say he shot Dajae, he was arrested and charged with littering in the public way. That case is also still in the court system.
Woodson is set to appear in court for the murder case on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m. in room 105 of Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie, 5600 Old Orchard Rd.