A man charged last year with shooting the wife of a woman with whom he was having an affair was found guilty Friday of attempted homicide.
A jury of eight men and four women deliberated for about two hours before finding Roy L. Yoakum, 37, of Madison, guilty of attempted first-degree intentional homicide by use of a dangerous weapon for shooting Chaka Cabell in the chest on Nov. 11 outside the East Side home she shared with her wife, Lena Cabell. Yoakum also was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon.
The verdict was met with strong reactions from some of Yoakum’s supporters, one of whom screamed as she left the courtroom. Yoakum will remain in custody until he is sentenced in about two months by Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara, following a pre-sentence investigation by the state Department of Corrections.
Yoakum faces up to 75 years of combined prison and extended supervision on the two convictions, with the possibility of up to 10 more years once prosecutors formally establish that he is a repeat offender.
The shooting happened after Chaka Cabell became angry when she learned of Lena Cabell’s short-lived affair with Yoakum. She repeatedly called and sent text messages to Yoakum, calling him names that prosecutors said angered Yoakum, who went to the Cabell home looking for Chaka Cabell.
Assistant District Attorney Jessica Miller argued that Yoakum didn’t expect Lena Cabell to be home, however, and she saw him arrive, then drive off after the shooting.
In his closing argument, state Assistant Public Defender Schulyer Boggio said the prosecution’s theory of the case was “preposterous,” and said that instead, it was Chaka Cabell who wielded the gun and was shot during a struggle with Yoakum as he defended himself.
“Is it realistic to believe that Roy felt so disrespected because Chaka Cabell called him these names?” Boggio asked. If anyone was angered to the point of murderous rage, he said, it was Chaka Cabell. In only about 90 minutes, she called Yoakum more than 80 times and left him extremely angry voicemail messages when he didn’t answer her calls.
Boggio asserted that after Chaka Cabell was shot with her own gun, the Cabells hid the gun in their home, which wasn’t found because police didn’t thoroughly search the home after the shooting.
No gun was found in Yoakum’s possession either, but there was testimony during the trial that Yoakum had said he threw the gun into Lake Mendota while he dodged police for four days.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hargrove said the defense theory did not constitute reasonable doubt, because it was based entirely on guesswork without evidence. He asked the jury whether it was rational for someone who said he was the victim of an attempted homicide to ditch the car he was driving, shut down his phone and hide out so that police wouldn’t find him.
Yoakum, he said, as much as admitted the shooting in text messages sent to one of his girlfriends shortly before and after the shooting, Hargrove said.
About 15 minutes before the shooting, Yoakum wrote, “Make sure you watch the news tomorrow. Ima make it easy for everybody.”
Then about 15 minutes after, Yoakum wrote to her, “Answer your phone. I just did some dumb (expletive) (expletive).”
“In this case, his words tell you he did it,” Hargrove said. “And the state agrees, that what he did was some dumb (expletive) (expletive).”