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Woman sentenced in Galesburg murder, new details released on case

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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GALESBURG, Illinois (KWQC) - A Knox County courtroom was packed with grieving family members from both sides Wednesday for the sentencing of 27-year-old Maquesha Ramey.

Ramey was found guilty earlier this year for First Degree Murder for the shooting death of 26-year-old Rachel Likes in 2021.

Emotional statements from the family of Likes were given before and after court, plus new details were revealed about the case during the hearing.

The hearing started with Defense Attorney Daniel O’Brien requesting a new trial based on not enough evidence to support First Degree murder. He also stated the prosecution used bits and pieces of a video that was taken at the crime scene rather than showing the whole thing.

Judge Richard Grambell denied the request for a new trial.

Knox County State’s Attorney Jeremy Karlin read an emotional impact statement aloud, which was written by Likes’ sister Jackie Jones. In the testimony, Jones stated that she felt the last year was one long, blurry dream. “It’s not just a nightmare,” said Jones, “[it’s] not something you can wake up from. It’s real and she’s gone forever.”

In his arguments for the maximum sentence, Karlin stated that Ramey had gone to Mississippi to purchase a gun, showing she was looking to commit a crime.

Ramey then returned to Galesburg, and disguising herself in a hoodie, mask and wig, drove to her ex-boyfriend’s house where she saw Rachel Likes parked outside.

Karlin stated Ramey then shot at Likes’ car nine times, hitting Likes three of those times. The fatal shot was to the head. Likes’ son was in the backseat of her car at the time of the shooting and witnessed the event.

Karlin also stated that Ramey took a picture of herself with the gun and in the disguise.

Pulling the trigger, however, was something that Karlin claims Ramey didn’t admit to until Wednesday in court in her testimony.

In the testimony, Maquesha said, “Rachel, I know you aren’t here and it’s my fault. I held a gun to you and pulled the trigger and I can’t take that back and for that I’m truly sorry.” Addressing Likes’ family, Ramey staed, “I hope maybe, just maybe one day you will find forgiveness in your heart. I’m taking full responsibility for my actions. What I did was wrong.”

The defense attorney Daniel O’Brien tried countering the prosecution’s argument by calling Ramey’s great Aunt and great Uncle to the stand.

Both family members claimed that she was a generous girl who sought to take care of others. They both stated that Ramey never showed any violent behaviors before.

In his closing, O’Brian claimed again that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove murder in the First Degree, stating that the crime was not heinous enough to garner a maximum sentence, either. He asked for 20 to 25 years as a sentence instead of the maximum.

In the end, Judge Richard Grambell settled in between, giving Ramey a 65 year sentence in the Illinois department of corrections.

After the hearing, the mother of Rachel Likes spoke with TV6 about her thoughts on Ramey’s sentence.

“[Rachel is] greatly missed, and the amount of time they give [Ramey] isn’t going to change the fact that she’s gone,” said Debra Likes, “[Ramey] never showed any remorse for anything that went on.”

Likes’ family stated that she was a person that was full of energy, one could tell when she entered and exited a room. They said she will be deeply missed.

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