Judge sets hearing on immunity issue for man convicted in Ped Mall fatal shooting

Lamar Wilson (from left) talks with his attorney, John Bruzek, after a hearing at the Johnson Country Courthouse in Iowa City on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and criminal gang participation. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Lamar Wilson (from left) talks with his attorney, John Bruzek, after a hearing at the Johnson Country Courthouse in Iowa City on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Wilson is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and criminal gang participation. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY -A judge on Friday set a hearing for later this month to determine if an Iowa City man who fatally shot one man and injured two others should be granted immunity under the state’s new “stand your ground” provision.

Lamar Wilson, 21, was found guilty by Polk County jury Wednesday on lesser charges — voluntary manslaughter, two counts of assault with the intent to inflict serious injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. He fatally shot Kaleek Jones, 22, and seriously injured Xavier Hicks and his cousin D’Andre Hicks on Aug. 27 on the PED Mall. The trial was moved to Polk County because of extension pretrial publicity.

Wilson faces up to 22 years in prison. He was originally charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, which would have been a life sentence.

His sentencing is set for March 30 in Johnson County District Court.

Wilson, at trial, claimed he shot Jones and the cousins in self-defense and in defense of others he was with that night as the downtown Iowa City bars were about to close. Jones and the cousins were unarmed but others in their group had guns and attacked Wilson and his group, according to testimony.

Wilson had a permit to carry and was forced take action, the defense argued.

6th Judicial District Judge Paul Miller, in a November ruling, said he would postpone the issue until he had heard evidence at trial. He would allow the jury to reach a verdict, and then determine if immunity should be granted, he said.

John Bruzek, Wilson’s lawyer, argued in a previous motion to dismiss the case that the new state gun law establishing a stand-your-ground provision grants individuals the right to immunity from prosecution if deadly force is justified and reasonable.

Prosecutors argued before trial that the new law could grant immunity for criminal or civil liability for damages — but not immunity from prosecution.

The hearing on the immunity issue is set Feb. 22 in Johnson County District Court.

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

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