Prosecutors: Maquesha Ramey shot Rachel Likes multiple times in ex-boyfriend's driveway

·6 min read
Knox County Courthouse
Knox County Courthouse

GALESBURG — Michael Hubbard was almost home at approximately 5 p.m. Jan. 4, 2021, when he heard gunshots and saw the tail lights of a dark sedan driving off.

Hubbard testified his girlfriend, Rachel Likes, had parked outside his house with her child in the back seat. Hubbard approached Likes’ car to talk to her but found her shot behind the wheel.

Rachel Likes.
Rachel Likes.

Likes was pronounced dead at 5:28 p.m. in the emergency room at Galesburg Cottage Hospital.

Hubbard was one of 13 witnesses called by the prosecution Friday in the first day of the trial of Maquesha Ramey, who is accused of shooting and killing Likes and faces three counts of first degree murder. Circuit Judge Richard H. Gambrell is presiding.

More: First degree murder trial over killing of Rachel Likes begins in Knox County

According to court filings, Knox County State’s Attorney Jeremy S. Karlin has indicated his intention to seek a natural life sentence should Ramey be found guilty. The minimum possible penalty is 45 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, of which Ramey would be required to serve 100% of the sentence.

During opening arguments, Assistant State Attorney Ashley M. Worby outlined the prosecution’s case.

“Rachel Likes instinctively and helplessly shielded her face with her hand,” Worby said, asserting that Ramey had driven up next to where Likes was parked at 343 W 1st St. and fired multiple bullets into Likes’ body with a Glock 45.

Worby also told jurors Ramey had been wearing a wig and after killing Likes, wrecked her gray-black Chevrolet Malibu near the 500 block of McClure St. and fled on foot. Police would also find a green Ford Explorer truck registered in Ramey’s name abandoned nearby. A wig and a Glock pistol would later be found inside a bag in a ditch near N. Soangetaha Rd. on March 8, 2021, and brought into police custody.

Chief Public Defender David Hansen gave the defense’s opening argument, reminding the jury that Ramey is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, Hansen also said that the defense will not be contesting a lot of the evidence the prosecution is presenting.

Likes’ mother was the first witness called, then Patrol Officer Maggie Semington who confirmed that she had encountered Ramey and her ex-boyfriend Hubbard on various domestic dispute calls between July 9 and Dec. 25, 2020.

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Semington said that on the last occasion she had encountered Ramey upset because she and Hubbard had had an argument and Hubbard was with an ex-girlfriend. The defense confirmed that Ramey had not mentioned to Semington the name of that ex-girlfriend.

Deandre Harris, a co-resident of 343 W 1st St with Hubbard, took the stand. Harris said he was inside the house at the time of the shooting. Harris confirmed that he had seen Hubbard and Likes together and that he knew Hubbard and Ramey had broken up.

At approximately 4:58 p.m. Jan. 4, 2021, Harris heard shots firing near the house. Harris told the jury he found bullet holes through the front window and one in the living room wall.

Hubbard took the stand after Harris and confirmed that he and Ramey had had a serious relationship. Dating between June and Dec. 2020, the couple had gone to the courthouse for a marriage certificate but argued and broke up around Christmas before actually getting married.

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Hubbard said he had reason to believe Ramey was in Mississippi at the time of the shooting, where Ramey is originally from. He confirmed that he spoke to Ramey multiple times on the phone after Likes was killed and Ramey had been taken into police custody. Hubbard also confirmed that the original statement he gave at the police station was not entirely truthful.

He had told police there had been multiple cars on his street the day of the shooting, when there had only been one.

“I didn’t want to believe what transpired,” Hubbard told prosecutors.

Hubbard said he was no longer communicating with Ramey by the time six months had passed from the shooting. When Worby asked Hubbard whether the view of the vehicle he saw pulling away the day of the shooting was consistent with a dark gray-black Chevrolet Malibu, Hubbard answered “Yes.”

Three different detectives were called to the stand: Lane Mings, Jack Harlan and Travis Smith. Mings had located an abandoned Chevrolet Malibu with Mississippi plates on Jan. 4. After running its registration and finding it belonged to Ramey, Mings submitted a preservation request for Ramey’s Facebook account to ensure it would not be deleted.

Mings confirmed for the defense that in photographs Mings took of the Chevrolet Malibu, there were multiple tracks and footprints in the snow around the car—not just one pair.

Detective Harlan searched the surrounding site of the other vehicle in Ramey’s name, a green Ford Explorer truck found in a railroad access road on the other side of a stretch of woods where the Chevrolet had been left. On Jan. 5, Harlan brought a K-9 to the crash site and found a key-fob with a Chevrolet logo in the snow.

Detective Smith was present at 1070 W. South St., when Ramey turned herself in to the police.

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Dr. Amanda Yeomans, who conducted Likes’ autopsy, outlined the trajectory of Likes’ four wounds for the jury. Yeomans first observed a gunshot wound to the head and a wound on the right index finger.

“In my opinion, this injury is consistent with a defensive wound,” Yeomans said, as they most often occur in hands or forearms when someone moves to defend their head or face.

Yeoman confirmed for the defense that Likes’ hands could have just been in the air at the time she was shot.

Gregory Shannon Bond and Robert Hinckley took the stand next and testified he'd found a red DoorDash bag under a tire at the bottom of a ditch on the property on March 8, 2021. Inside the bag, Bond found a wig, multiple bullet magazines and a gun case with a pistol. Bond's friend Hinckley identified the gun and they called the police.

Police Officer Amber Schlomer arrived on the scene at 26 N. Soangetaha Road and secured the items from Bond and Hinckley, she testified to the court.

The trial is set to continue on Monday, Jan. 24, at 9 a.m.

This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: Knox County murder trial or Maquesha Ramey: State calls 13 witnesses