Teen murder suspect pleads not guilty; 14-year-old victim’s family mourns

Local News

A teen accused of killing another girl in Rock Island pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday in Rock Island County Court.

Lyric D. Stewart, 14, of Rock Island, was stabbed to death Dec. 30 during a fight in the 1200 block of 11th Street.

Jimena Jinez, 18, also of Rock Island, was arrested in the early morning of Dec. 31, 2020, and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death. She has been in custody in Rock Island County Jail since then, and is being held on $1.5 million bond.

Jimena Jinez, 18, of Rock Island, was arrested in the early morning of December 31, 2020, and charged with first degree murder in the stabbing death of a 14-year-old female that occurred on December 30, 2020.
Jimena Jinez, 18, of Rock Island, was arrested in the early morning of December 31, 2020, and charged with first degree murder in the stabbing death of a 14-year-old female that occurred on December 30, 2020.

Jinez appeared Tuesday in Rock Island County Court. She responded to the judge’s questions with brief answers, and appeared calm.

Police said Jinez was called to that house by two younger sisters who went there to purchase marijuana. When they arrived, Lyric was there. Police said Lyric and the sisters, who are both minors, had previously had issues with one another. Investigators said those in the home were encouraging a fist fight between the sisters and Lyric. That is when they called Jinez.

When Jinez arrived, she and Lyric started fighting. The altercation was recorded on cell phones by witnesses there.

The fight escalated, and Jinez fatally stabbed Lyric once in the chest. She died the next day from the injury at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

Meanwhile, outside the courthouse today, Lyric’s family and close friends held up signs that said “Justice For Lyric Stewart” and talked with Local 4 News.

Tony Stewart, Lyric’s father, said he didn’t care if it was “negative 100” degrees outside, he still would be there to seek justice for his daughter.

Tony Stewart and the rest of the family are upset that minors at the scene of the fight do not face charges similar to what Jinez faces. The family plans to continue to do whatever they can to seek justice for Lyric.

“There’s nothing about (Lyric) I don’t miss,” he said, adding his daughter had a big heart.

“She has an autistic brother, and she spent a lot of time working with kids with imparities. That was her thing,” he said.

Stewart said it’s been a devastating time for their family. 

“Living in hell. With no answers. I don’t feel there is any justice being served,” he said.

Close family friend Melissa Cavins said Lyric was like her little sister.

“She was the best person that I knew. My baby sister. My kids ask about her all the time, that was their best friend,” Cavins said.

Jennifer Rentfro said her sons were best friends with Lyric, and they have been devastated without her. She said Lyric’s life was taken too soon.

“Lyric deserves justice. She was just a baby girl,” Rentfro said.

Stewart said they will continue to show their support.

“We’re not giving up, and we aren’t going to stop until something is done,” Stewart said.

Jinez’s next court date is set for March 4 at 1pm.

To see Lyric’s obituary, visit https://www.trimblefuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Lyric-D–Stewart?obId=19500155

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