FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Allen County jury found a 21-year-old woman guilty of murder in the shooting death of Diquan Meriwether who died in January 2020 after going to his friend’s house to collect a debt.

Kennisha Jackson faces up to 85 years in prison, 65 for murder, and 20 for a gun enhancement. She’ll be sentenced on August 29 at 10 a.m.

The family of Diquan Meriwether left the courtroom Thursday afternoon to await the verdict in anxious prayer, his aunt, TiYonna Meriwether said.

Meriwether said her prayers are non stop, some without sound.

“I feel a little bit nervous. At the same time, I’m not looking for any peace to form, because if there is a guilty verdict, justice doesn’t mend a broken heart or a broken soul,” Meriwether said.

“When they present the evidence and you see the autopsy. I actually saw his heart with a hole in it. I watched my nephew die on camera. It’s mental torture. And you pray to God that you don’t lose your sanity behind the things that you witness or saw,” she said. Her sister, Diquan’s mother, Tara, didn’t want to speak while she waited.

This is the third time Jackson has appeared in court with her attorney, Donald Swanson, for the same case. Released from the Allen County Jail after the state requested a continuance in April because a jury couldn’t reach a decision in last August’s trial , Jackson walked into court on her own this week, her family and friends in front of the rail in Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent’s courtroom. They were attentive as Swanson repeated and repeated his assertion that Jackson acted in self defense.

Deputy prosecutors Tasha Lee and Kamia Gatakala worked from video evidence that showed Diquan showing up at Jackson’s door at 2827 Abbott St. the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2020, apparently trying to collect $80 Jackson owed him. In closing arguments Thursday, Lee said Diquan stood at the door, obviously in some kind of discussion with Jackson, until she pulled his pink hoodie over his head and he wound up past the threshold.

In less than two minutes, he exited the same front door without his pink hoodie and without a weapon. He ran to a waiting car, clutching his chest, the video showed.

Diquan collapsed on the ground on the passenger side, and the driver had to pick him up and put him in the car. Jackson is seen standing at the front door with a gun in her hand, looking out. No 911 call was made, Lee said.

In other video presented by the prosecutors, Jackson is seen exiting the door and picking something up from the ground and later, men, identified as her kin, showing up with a blue gun case and leaving with same.

The pink hoodie was never found. Nor were the bullet, that shot through his heart and then through the door to land on the ground, a shell casing or the gun.  

Swanson criticized the video evidence, saying it had been edited and was part of a fancy, misleading presentation created by the state to have you believe Jackson was guilty of murder, not the victim of an attack.

Swanson insisted that Diquan broke down the door, then “battered” Jackson who had no recourse but to shoot him in self defense, two words he repeated often to make sure the jury got the picture. Proof of her injuries was a photo where a small amount of blood and a bruised eye were seen.

But prosecutors scoffed at that idea. The injuries were part of a cover up that took place during the hours after the shooting and before police were called. As part of the cover up, Jackson requested going to the hospital, they said.

Lee said it was obvious Diquan hesitated at Jackson’s door, before he was pulled in and shot just inside, the bullet going through his heart and the door. He was sure to die because of his mortal injury, according to expert testimony, and was driven around Fort Wayne for an hour and a half after he was shot.

His driver, a female friend,  even passed Parkview Randallia hospital, according to a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective, Jeff Marsee. When someone finally called 911, video showed a medic pumping his chest and trying desperately to resuscitate DIquan as he lay outside the car. But it was too late.

In that time, prosecutors said Jackson and her family removed evidence and cleaned the house, leaving strategic droplets of blood. How could anyone believe she’d been injured when video taken during the time of the shooting showed Jackson without injuries and without any stains to the “pristine” white sweatshirt she was wearing, Lee wanted to know.

To go along with the lack of material evidence – gun, shell casing, projectile and mysteriously unfound pink hoodie – there was no blood trail, just random blood droplets in the home with Jackson’s DNA and Diquan’s DNA at the door’s threshold.

“Why didn’t they find the pink hoodie,” Lee asked. “Where is it? We don’t know.”

Swanson, know for his flamboyance in court, started his closing arguments by accusing the state of “audacity” in bringing charges, labeling it “incredible.” At the door, Diquan was “yelling at” Jackson and “verbally accosting” her, he claimed. Diquan “ripped off the hinges of the door” to get at her. If he (Diquan) “hadn’t broken in and battered her, none of this would have happened,” he stated.

Swanson didn’t address the lack of blood trail or the pink hoodie. He also referred the state’s case as a “quote investigation,” using his fingers to illustrate a quote.

Lead detective Marsee found no evidence of tissues used in the clean up. Well, Swanson said, isn’t that what you do after you clean up, throw the tissues away? Swanson said he found it “offensive” that Marsee didn’t investigate “threats.”

Of course, detectives would have checked the trash, Lee retorted. “Why didn’t they find anything. It was to act like nothing happened.”