Illinois man beat a rapper to death and then skipped town and his trial. A judge still handed down a sentence.

rockford
Source: Rockford police; MEGA

Oct. 28 2021, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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An Illinois man who bludgeoned a local rapper to death remains free and police continue to search for him. But it didn’t stop a judge from sentencing him to life in prison.

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Recently, A Winnebago Judge sentenced William Arzate, 24, in absentia to life in prison for the beating death of William Pickering, also known as Billy Da Kid.” Arzate, who posted a $100,000 bond with the help of family members after his arrest in 2019, remains at large.

The defendant failed to appear in court for his trial and sentencing. Arzate was found guilty and convicted in July for first-degree murder and concealing a homicidal death.

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According to the Associated Press, on May 25, 2019, the defendant beat Pickering to death with a baseball bat, then moved his body to a wooded area and burnt the corpse. Later, authorities found the victim’s vehicle near his home. That led investigators to speak to other persons of interest to locate the crime scene. From there, they obtained the whereabouts of his remains.

According to the Associated Press, on May 25, 2019, the defendant beat Pickering to death with a baseball bat, then moved his body to a wooded area and burnt the corpse. Later, authorities found the victim’s vehicle near his home. That led investigators to speak to other persons of interest to locate the crime scene. From there, they obtained the whereabouts of his remains.

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Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office disclosed the medical examiner’s report had established the cause of Pickering's death was due to blunt force trauma to his head. In addition, the victim suffered trauma to multiple points of impact on his bones, reported Rockford Register Star.

It’s not clear what was the motive behind the killing.

Arzate and Dakoda Graff, Manuel Ramirez, and Colton Kennicker, were charged in connection to Pickering’s death. However, Graff pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in June, while Ramirez pleaded guilty to concealment of a homicidal death in February. Ramirez was sentenced to 180 days in prison.

Kennicker was found in Mesa, Arizona, and his extradition to Winnebago County was approved. His case is still pending.

Anyone with information that would lead to Arzate’s arrest is asked to contact the Rockford Police Department at (815) 966-2900 or Rockford Area Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.

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