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Jury finds Dalquavis Ward guilty on all counts in killing of Racine police officer

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 16:00:22-04

RACINE — A jury in Racine County Court has found a Milwaukee man guilty on all three counts in the killing of off-duty Racine police officer John Hetland last year.

The jury found 27-year-old Dalquavis Ward guilty of 1st-Degree Intentional Homicide, Armed Robbery and Possess Firearm-Convicted of a Felony.

A sentencing date for Ward has been set for Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m. He could face up to life behind bars.

Hetland was off-duty when he tried to intervene in a robbery at Teezers Bar and Grill in Racine in June 2019. Prosecutors argue Ward shot Hetland once before running out of the bar.

Hetland was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a 24-year veteran of the Racine Police Department.

The final day of the trial

In a rare moment on day four of the trial, defendant Dalquavis Ward took the stand in his own defense, trying to make his case.

“Do you swear the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God?" Judge Timothy Boyle asked as Ward took the stand on day four.

"Yes sir," he replied.

Ward maintained his stance on Friday, denying he was on the scene of a robbery where Officer Hetland was shot and killed trying to intervene.

Prosecutors argued that robber was Ward and the two struggled over a gun. It ended with Ward shooting Hetland in the chest.

“I can’t speak for the person who actually did the crime, sir," when asked about specifics of the crime by prosecutors.

On the stand, Ward detailed a timeline of what happened since his release from prison just four days before the shooting of the officer. Stops included a barbershop visit, a visit with family and a stop to the DMV to get a license.

Despite where Ward says he was during the shooting, prosecutors argued his admitted past of robberies paints a picture that should leave jurors with a guilty verdict. That, in addition to video evidence and witness testimony.

“John Hetland collects the evidence necessary to convict this defendant on his own shoulder, on his own neck and on his own cheek by clinching this defendant against him. He brings to you the DNA to let you makes the findings that are necessary," prosecutor Michael Graveley stated in his final arguments.

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