Qaw’mane Wilson liked flashy clothes and customized cars.
The jobless, aspiring rapper who called himself “Young QC” was able to indulge in his expensive taste largely through the money he got from his doting mother, the successful owner of an Uptown hair salon.
And in 2012, when Yolanda Holmes was murdered in the bedroom of her Uptown apartment, Wilson stood to inherit the $90,000 from her savings and collect on her life insurance policies, Cook County prosecutors said.
Eight months after his mother’s funeral, Wilson posted a YouTube video of a trip to the bank at which he allegedly withdrew stacks of $100 bills. Grinning giddily at the camera, Wilson later tossed wads of cash to a squealing throng of people outside a shopping center.
The YouTube video was one of several shown to jurors this week as Wilson stood trial for his mother’s murder, alongside co-defendant Eugene Spencer. Prosecutors allege Wilson persuaded Spencer to shoot, then stab Holmes in what was either a botched robbery or a murder-for-hire scheme.
Wilson’s lawyers pointed to another video, of Chicago police detectives barking questions — and, they say, feeding the answers — to Wilson in a lengthy interrogation more than a year after the murder.
“What’s wrong with you? Seriously, what’s wrong with you?” Sgt. Michelle Wood asked Wilson during the December 2013 interrogation. (Are) You just a cold-blooded m———-r who doesn’t give a s–t about his mother?”
Prosecutors also played video of Spencer making a more elaborate, if very disjointed confession on tape, claiming that he was set up by Wilson to show up at Holmes’ apartment the night of the murder and struggled with another man.
Over the course of more than an hour in the interrogation room, Spencer’s account goes from him arriving at the door and scuffling with the other man he said was the actual killer and hearing gunshots, to admitting he may have shot Holmes accidentally. At one point, Spencer can be heard conceding he shot Holmes at close range, then returned to stab her twice after he called Wilson and was told to “make sure that b—h dead.”
Asked by detectives why he stabbed Holmes if she wasn’t moving, Spencer replied, “Um, the only reason why I did that, I felt like I was being set up and I felt like this was all on me.”
Curtis Wyatt, a boyfriend of Holmes who said he struggled with a gunman before calling 911, testified that Spencer was the killer. Spencer’s lawyers have tried to paint Wyatt as a more likely suspect.
During his interrogation, after denying involvement in his mother’s death, Wilson said that Spencer wanted money and planned to have Wilson call his mother so Spencer could get into her high-rise building. Spencer then would “take what he could” when she opened the door, Wilson said.
“It was supposed to be a robbery,” Wilson said meekly.
Cross-examining Wood on Friday, defense attorney Stephen Richards noted that all of the information Wilson gave during his interrogation was either wrong or mirrored what Wood and her partner had told Wilson about the killing.
Holmes’ sisters have attended each day of the trial, seated in the front row of the gallery a few feet from the jury, on the opposite side of the courtroom from their nephew and his co-defendant. The family members shook their heads earlier this week, as prosecutors played camera phone video Wilson filmed as he flexed in front of a mirror, wearing a thick gold chain and repeatedly fanning open a stack of $100 bills.
Richards had objected to letting prosecutors play that video, as well as the YouTube video of Wilson bragging about his customized Ford Mustang and, literally, throwing away stacks of cash.
“They’re putting in these videos of my client not to show motive, but to show that he’s a bad person… he’s throwing this money around after his mother’s death,” Richards said.
The trial will resume Tuesday.