A hearing on Lamar Wilson’s stand-your-ground defense began Feb. 22 in 6th District Court and will continue next week.
Wilson, 24, has been convicted with voluntary manslaughter, two counts of assault with the intent to inflict serious injury, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon for his involvement in the Aug. 27, 2017, shooting on the Pedestrian Mall.
Kaleek Jones, 22, died of wounds sustained in the shooting.
Wilson is using Iowa’s relatively new stand-your-ground law as a defense. Also known as Iowa House File 517, the bill was signed into law by then-Gov. Terry Branstad on April 13, 2017. It went into effect July 1, 2017.
One of Wilson’s attorneys, Matthew Shimanovsky, discussed the definitions of words that have been used by the court — criminal prosecution versus criminal liability.
“We interpret statutes to give effect to each and every provision and each and every word,” Shimanovsky said. With this in mind, Wilson’s counsel filed a motion to hear testimony from three witnesses in court.
Both Shimanovsky and Wilson’s other attorney, John Bruzek, said the witnesses would back Wilson’s claim of standing his ground during the Ped Mall shooting.
Sixth District Judge Paul Miller said he would allow the witnesses to testify in court, but only after prosecutors cross-examined them.
Miller later referred the prosecution to specific pages of the three witnesses’ previous depositions and asked if they had had a chance to depose the witnesses yet.
Because Assistant Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann Smith said she has not yet had the chance to cross-examine the witnesses on the material, Miller said the hearing will continue next week so both parties can have time to prepare for testimony and cross-examination.
“The state should be entitled to some notice,” Miller said.
Miller said he anticipates the trial will finish next week, noting “we’re not going to drag this out for months, I’ll tell you that right now.”
Depositions will be behind closed doors, and an exact date of when the hearing will continue has not been set.
Wilson faces up to 24 years in prison, which includes up to 10 years each for convictions of voluntary manslaughter and intimidation with a dangerous weapon and two years each for two counts of assault with intent to inflict serious injury.
— Charles Peckman