An ex-con was convicted Thursday of a first-degree murder for stabbing a man in the heart during an argument over which direction they were driving while traveling on a highway in Illinois.
A jury convicted Heath Dunning this week. In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Dunning was also found guilty of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
After about three hours of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts. The three-day trial in Franklin County started Monday when a jury was chosen and ended after two days of evidence was presented on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a news release from the State’s Attorney in Franklin County.
On April 15, 2021, while driving on a highway, Heath Dunning, a convicted felon, stabbed Dennis “Lance” Martin through the heart, killing Martin within moments.
Dunning was driving Martin’s van late that night when the two got into an argument about the direction Dunning was going, authorities said.
Martin, in the front passenger seat, tried to remove the keys from the ignition when Dunning grabbed a knife and plunged the blade between Martin’s ribs and into his heart, prosecutors said.
Dunning parked in a driveway and called 911.
A sheriff’s captain arrived within moments, but it was too late. The damage was fatal. Martin died before paramedics arrived.
Dunning, who authorities said had been convicted of aggravated battery, property damage, and burglary, will face sentencing later.
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