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Family furious after man charged with killing mother goes free: ‘The judge failed me’

<i>WLS</i><br/>Teresa Smith
Teresa Smith

By Stephanie Wade

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    CHICAGO (WLS) — A family said they are beyond furious and devastated that the man charged with killing their mother, and who has spent the past four years in jail for her death, is now a free man.

The family of Daisy Hayes, who went missing in 2018, was stunned by Friday’s verdict.

“To see this man go free as free and she’s somewhere lost. She’s lost,” said Teresa Smith, Hayes’ daughter. “We fought so hard to get justice for her and the judge failed me yesterday.”

Hayes’ 75-year-old boyfriend, Jimmy Jackson, who had been charged with murder, home invasion and concealing the 65-year-old woman’s death, is now walking free after a Cook County judge ruled him not guilty.

“It snatched my heart out my body. All I could do is scream and just run out the courtroom, like ‘what didn’t you see?'” Smith said.

Smith said security footage, which was part of the trial, showed Jackson leaving her mother’s Chicago Housing Authority apartment the night she disappeared, wheeling away a suitcase big enough to fit Hayes’ 85 pound, 5-foot-2-inch body inside.

Though Hayes’ body was never found, Jackson, who went to Tennessee after her disappearance, was brought back to Chicago to face murder charges.

“You see him struggling with this suitcase. You see him actually put the suitcase in the dumpster. You actually see him take garbage from other dumpsters to put on top of her so it can be concealed. So I don’t know, ‘what more Diana Kenworthy need?’ That was the judge.”

The judge said the video, plus no sign of a struggle inside the apartment nor any biological evidence of a crime, was not enough to prove he killed her.

“We were utterly shocked,” said Kenwood Oakland Community Organization Executive Director Shannon Bennett. “Everyone in that courtroom.”

Bennett was in the courtroom and says the family did not receive justice.

“It was just heartbreaking. I feel for Teresa, her grandkids, they deserve better and we’re going to make sure that at least that we do what we would do if that was our mom,” Bennett said.

ABC7 reached out to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, which said, “as in all cases, we prosecuted this case to the fullest extent, and will continue to do so on behalf of all victims in Cook County.”

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