Former Freeport Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Witness Retaliation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 30, 2013|
ROCKFORD—A former Freeport, Illinois man was sentenced today in federal court to 20 years in federal prison for retaliating against and causing bodily injury to a witness. The defendant, Damon Rucker, 36, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala to serve three years on supervision following his release from prison. Rucker had been charged with causing bodily injury to the witness on December 20, 2012.
Rucker was found guilty of the charge by a federal jury in Rockford on April 23, 2013, following a two-day jury trial. According to the indictment and evidence at trial, Rucker was initially convicted in federal court in Rockford on July 3 1, 2012, of a drug trafficking crime. A co-defendant, who also pled guilty in that case, agreed to cooperate with the government and testified against Rucker during Rucker’s sentencing hearing. On December 20, 2012, Rucker, with intent to retaliate against the co-defendant for testifying, slammed the witness’s head against a concrete wall while both were in custody. At the time, the victim was in the process of being transported to a different jail and was in hand and leg shackles. Rucker was not shackled at the time.
Judge Kapala ordered that today’s sentence of 20 years must be served consecutive to the 87 months in prison that Rucker was sentenced to on the drug trafficking conviction. Rucker will not be eligible for parole.
The sentencing was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States Marshals Service and the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and John G. McKenzie.