Police & Courts

Appellate court affirms decision in 2015 murder trial

Gavin Masters
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 13, 2018 3:40 pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- An Illinois appellate court has affirmed a trial court decision in the 2015 murder conviction of a Quincy man.

In a unanimous decision filed Tuesday, the court found that Gavin Masters could not demonstrate plain error regarding the admission of evidence related to other crimes in his October 2015 trial.

Masters, 21, is serving 115 years in prison after being convicted on first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges in connection with the July 4, 2015, shooting death of 21-year-old Randy Bowser-Smith and shooting of Skyler Osborne, who was paralyzed from the event, in an apartment at 635 College.

The court found that Judge Robert Adrian did not err, as Masters argued, in allowing testimony that Masters tried to steal a firearm from a package while working for UPS in Quincy 10 days before the shooting, saying it was not inadmissible to show intent.

During the trial, Masters' attorney, Drew Schnack, argued that the evidence should not have been admitted because it was irrelevant to the issue of Masters' identity and was unduly prejudicial. Adrian ruled that the other-crimes evidence was relevant to the issue of intent. The court noted that no objection was made during the trial when former co-worker Brandon Head testified that Masters tried to steal a gun from the package.

Police said the shooting happened after a failed marijuana buy that Bowser-Smith had set up with Masters. When Bowser-Smith and Osborne returned to buy a quarter-pound of marijuana, Bowser-Smith attempted to steal the drugs and was shot while trying to flee from the apartment, falling just outside the front door.

During the trial, Osborne testified that he was shot by Masters, who was standing just 2 1/2 to 3 feet away.

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