Iowa Supreme Court affirms conviction of man imprisoned for Ped Mall shooting

The court rejected Lamar Wilson’s appeal of his conviction and sentencing Friday, stating that Wilson’s use of “stand your ground” defense did not grant him a pretrial hearing or immunity from prosecution.


Joseph Cress

Lamar Wilson of Iowa City sits in the court room during a case management hearing for Lamar Wilson vs. Johnson County in the Johnson County courthouse on Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss charges against him using Iowa’s “stand your ground” defense.

Kayli Reese, Cops & Courts Editor

The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentencing of Lamar Wilson, the man sentenced to 24 years in prison for his involvement in the 2017 Pedestrian Mall shooting, on Friday after reviewing his appeal. 

Wilson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, assault with intent to cause serious injury, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon after the Aug. 27, 2017 shooting. Wilson pulled out a gun on the Ped Mall during an argument between two groups, which resulted in the death of Kaleek Jones and the injuries of two others.

During trial, Wilson was acquitted of more serious charges — including one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder — against him. 

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments for Wilson’s appeal Sept. 10 at Muscatine High School. Wilson’s defense argued that he should have been granted a pretrial hearing regarding immunity from prosecution. 

Wilson wanted immunity under Iowa Code section 704.13, known as “stand your ground” defense. The law — which went into effect in 2017 — justifies the use of “reasonable force” if a person believes they or others are in imminent danger. However, his claims of immunity were rejected before his trial, and he was not granted the hearing he requested.

The Iowa Supreme Court stated Friday in their decision that Iowa law does not require a pretrial hearing if a defendant uses “stand your ground” defense, nor does it provide immunity from prosecution as some other states with “stand your ground” laws do. The law only provides immunity from liability, the documents read. 

RELATED: Iowa City man imprisoned for Ped Mall shooting appeals conviction to Iowa Supreme Court

Wilson’s appeal also argued that his trial was “fundamentally unfair” since he did not receive a pretrial hearing, court documents read, as the need to defend Wilson against criminal charges in his trial hindered the “stand your ground” argument. 

“We disagree with Wilson that this procedure was fundamentally unfair,” the Iowa Supreme Court said in their decision. “Wilson received a more robust process than anyone asserting a justification defense had received before 2017, and potentially, he received more than the 2017 legislation required. Any trial requires defense counsel to make difficult choices. But we think Wilson overstates the dilemma he faced.”

Documents read that the court also disagreed with Wilson’s argument that the state did not prove a lack of justification for Wilson’s actions. Wilson was the one who verbally started the argument between groups at the Ped Mall, documents said, and Wilson fired a gun first while the victims ran away.

The court also rejected Wilson’s claim that he should have been granted a new trial, documents read, as there was plenty of evidence provided in his trial for a jury to find that Wilson intentionally shot the individuals with whom he was arguing.