Judge sentences Quarzone Martin, who fatally shot one man, injured another, to 50 years in prison

25-year-old Martin must serve 35 years before eligible for parole

Quarzone Martin talks to family members after his sentencing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Martin was found guilty in December of second-degree murder, assault with intent to inflict serious injury, willful injury causing serious injury and going armed with intent in the fatal shooting of Andrew Meeks during a drug deal last July. Martin’s motion for a new trial was overruled, and he was sentenced to serve 50 years maximum, with sentences running concurrently and the possibility of parole. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Quarzone Martin talks to family members after his sentencing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Martin was found guilty in December of second-degree murder, assault with intent to inflict serious injury, willful injury causing serious injury and going armed with intent in the fatal shooting of Andrew Meeks during a drug deal last July. Martin’s motion for a new trial was overruled, and he was sentenced to serve 50 years maximum, with sentences running concurrently and the possibility of parole. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A mother of a man fatally shot last year during a drug deal gone awry July 2, said in a victim’s impact statement read Tuesday that she had a “big hole in my heart.”

Her son Andrew Meeks, 26, was also a brother, uncle, friend and father who will be missed by many, Rochelle Johnson said in the statement read by a victim/witness coordinator with the Linn County Attorney’s Office. Her grandchildren will have to grow up without a father and “we can’t tell him how much we love him.”

Johnson asked 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady to give Quarzone Martin, the man who fatally shot her son and seriously injured Johnny Moore Jr., the maximum sentence.

Martin, 25, was found guilty by a Linn County jury Dec. 27 of second-degree murder, assault with intent to inflict serious injury, willful injury causing serious injury and going armed with intent. He was originally charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Grady sentenced Martin to 50 years in prison, which wasn’t the maximum, but he said was sufficient and allowed rehabilitation for the 25-year-old. Martin will have to serve 35 years before being eligible for parole, he added.

Grady imposed the 50 year sentence for second-degree murder and ran the other 15 years for assault and other charges concurrently for a total of 50 years.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier asked the judge to run the sentences consecutively for 65 years in prison. He argued Martin should be held accountable not only for Meeks’ death but also for causing life threatening injuries to Moore.

Tyler Johnston, one of Martin’s lawyers, asked the court for 50 years. He also argued for a new for a new trial, saying the judge erred in giving a jury instruction regarding Martin’s claim of self-defense and that the prosecution didn’t prove malice, which was required for second-degree murder.

During the trial, the defense argued Meeks and Moore tried to rob Martin and he was forced to defend himself.

Grady denied the motion for new trial, saying his rulings regarding the jury instructions were correct and the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.

Testimony showed Martin was armed when he met Meeks and Johnny Moore Jr., 30, both of Cedar Rapids, in the west side Wal-Mart parking lot on July 2. The three men were all in a vehicle when the shooting occurred.

Moore testified Martin shot them during a drug deal over Xanax pills. There was a dispute over Martin, who was selling the pills, shorting Meeks and Moore on the number of pills they agreed to buy. Moore said Martin got out of the car at one point and then got back in and was armed with a gun. Martin shot Meeks, who was in the driver’s seat and then turned and shot Moore, who was in the back seat.

Meeks, who still had the car in drive and accelerated after shots were fired, crashed the car into a guard rail in the parking lot, according to testimony. Martin then left the scene before police arrived.

Meeks died of a gunshot wound to his neck. Moore was shot on the left side of his chest, injuring his colon and small intestine, which were life threatening injuries, a doctor testified.

Testimony showed Meeks and Moore were not armed.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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