By Sarah Watson
New lawyers for Curtis Jones, who has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the death of Iowa City cab driver Ricky Ray Lillie, appeared in court for the first time alongside Jones in a case-management conference Nov. 17 at the Johnson County Courthouse.
Lillie, a cab driver for Yellow Cab of Iowa City, was found dead in his vehicle on the morning of June 28.
According to the criminal complaint, Jones allegedly shot Lillie in the head and killed him after taking an uninterrupted ride in Lillie’s cab. Jones was captured on surveillance video leaving the place where Lillie was found.
Previously represented by Quint Meyerdirk, Jones requested new representation in late October. Meyerdirk submitted a motion to formally withdraw his representation Oct. 31, citing breakdown of communication between the two.
Douglas Davis and Nekeidra Tucker of the Linn County Public Defender’s Office represented Jones on Nov. 17. Davis, who is reviewing evidence in the case with Tucker, withdrew pending motions filed by Jones’ previous lawyer.
The representation transition left several pending motions hanging, including a motion to suppress testimony from Jones, who was reportedly intoxicated at the time of questioning.
A deadline to file all pretrial motions was set for Jan. 26. Additionally, a new case-management conference was set for Feb. 2 at 1:30 p.m., in which the judge will rule on pretrial motions.
Because of the amount of video evidence for the trial, the deadline for the prosecution to submit redacted video footage to the defense was also set for Jan. 26 to ensure both videos edited have the same content.
The trial is set for April 9, 2018, in the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport after the previous defense was granted a motion to change the venue and date of the trial. Sixth District Court Judge Chad Kepros approved the venue change after hearing an argument that the local media coverage would create difficulties in trying to find an unbiased jury in the local population.