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Judge decides murder trial for Iowa City man charged in Ped Mall shooting will continue

Lamar+Wilson+of+Iowa+City+leaves+the+court+room+during+a+case+management+hearing+for+State+of+Iowa+v.+Lamar+Wilson+in+the+Johnson+County+courthouse+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+27%2C+2017.+Wilson%27s+lawyers+asked+the+judge+to+dismiss+charges+against+him+using+Iowa%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9Cstand+your+ground%E2%80%9D+law.+%28Joseph+Cress%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Judge decides murder trial for Iowa City man charged in Ped Mall shooting will continue

Lamar Wilson of Iowa City leaves the court room during a case management hearing for State of Iowa v. Lamar Wilson in the Johnson County courthouse on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson's lawyers asked the judge to dismiss charges against him using Iowa’s “stand your ground” law. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Lamar Wilson of Iowa City leaves the court room during a case management hearing for State of Iowa v. Lamar Wilson in the Johnson County courthouse on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson's lawyers asked the judge to dismiss charges against him using Iowa’s “stand your ground” law. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Lamar Wilson of Iowa City leaves the court room during a case management hearing for State of Iowa v. Lamar Wilson in the Johnson County courthouse on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson's lawyers asked the judge to dismiss charges against him using Iowa’s “stand your ground” law. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Lamar Wilson of Iowa City leaves the court room during a case management hearing for State of Iowa v. Lamar Wilson in the Johnson County courthouse on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson's lawyers asked the judge to dismiss charges against him using Iowa’s “stand your ground” law. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Marissa Payne, [email protected]

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A 6th District judge has not yet determined whether Lamar Wilson, 23, who faces a murder charge, among others, in connection with the Aug. 27 Pedestrian Mall shooting, should be granted immunity from prosecution.

Instead of deciding on the defense’s motion to grant immunity before the trial, 6th District Judge Paul Miller ruled on Nov. 3 he will wait until after the jury reaches a verdict in the trial.

The trial was initially scheduled to start in early November, but Miller ruled to reset it to start Nov. 27 and changed the venue to the 5th District Court in Polk County. Miller granted the motion to move the venue because of pretrial media coverage, which defense attorneys argued would make it difficult to find an unbiased jury.

The shooting, which occurred near the Sheraton Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St., resulted in the death of Kaleek Jones, 22, and the wounding of two others.

Wilson is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and criminal gang participation.

Defense attorneys have argued that Wilson was justified in using deadly force against perceived deadly force because he faced imminent danger under Iowa’s relatively new Stand Your Ground law, which went into effect July 1.

Based on this law, John Bruzek, Wilson’s lawyer, argued in a Nov. 2 hearing that if Wilson was justified in the shooting, no crime occurred.

Prosecutors urged Miller to look at the plain meaning of the language of the law and interpret the situation that way, arguing it does not provide immunity from prosecution and only grants immunity from criminal or civil liability for “all damages incurred by the aggressor,” referring to liability for financial damages.

Defense attorneys are also seeking to sever the charge of criminal gang participation, saying it is unrelated to the other charges and would make the jury prejudiced against Wilson.

Bruzek referred to comments Iowa City police Capt. Troy Kelsay made at a press conference just hours after the shooting in response to questions of whether the incident was gang-related. Kelsay said the incident was not known to be gang related, but those involved were known to have criminal histories in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

“The animosity and gunshots were between those two groups; it was not something that occurred randomly on the Ped Mall,” Kelsay said at the press conference. “They’re known to one another; even if the individuals don’t necessarily know one another, the groups do.”

There were hundreds of people in the Ped Mall that night who could have been hurt after the Cedar Rapids group fired shots that night, Bruzek said, contending that “Lamar Wilson got in the way and probably saved people that night.”

Wilson is being held in the Johnson County Jail while he awaits trial. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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About the Writer
Marissa Payne, Managing Editor


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @marissa42_

Marissa Payne is the Managing Editor of The Daily Iowan. She started working at the DI her...

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