Linn County Metro

Friend of fatal shooting victim testifies Quarzone Martin shot them both during drug deal

Defense says Martin was forced to defend himself

CEDAR RAPIDS — A man testified Thursday his friend Andrew Meeks never got back up after he was shot by Quarzone Martin during a drug deal for Xanax pills.

“I saw my friend fall and not get back up,” Johnny Moore, 30, tearing up at times, said during the first day of testimony in Martin’s murder trial.

After he and Meeks discovered Martin gave them less pills, only 200 not 300, as agreed upon, Martin, who was in the front passenger seat, got out of the car and then got back in with a gun. Moore, from the backseat, said he saw Martin point the gun at Meeks, they struggled, and then Martin fired.

Moore’s ears were ringing. He couldn’t hear anything. He just froze. Then, Martin turned the gun at Moore, shooting him in the chest – about 1-1/2 inches from the heart.

Moore was seriously injured but the close friend he referred to as “Beaver” was killed.

Martin, 25, of Cedar Rapids, is on trial this week in Linn County District Court for first-degree murder, attempted murder, going armed with intent and willful injury causing serious injury. He is accused of fatally shooting Meeks, 26, and injuring Moore, both of Cedar Rapids on July 2.

The trial started Monday and a jury was selected late Wednesday. The trial is expected to go into next week.

Moore said Meeks knew Martin and had made plans to meet him in the westside Wal-Mart parking lot that day. Martin was dropped off by two others in an SUV, which was following them in the parking until Meeks told Martin to call them off.

A video surveillance tape played for the jury showed Martin getting out of the car and then getting back in. It doesn’t show the struggle inside the car.

Moore said Meeks had the car in drive but had his foot on the brake when Martin got back in with the gun. Meeks accelerated during the struggle, which is shown in the tape.

The car crashes into the guard rail in the parking lot after the two are shot and Martin gets out of the car at some point and flees the scene. Meeks then tells Moore to get out of the car after it hits the guard rail.

Moore said he doesn’t remember much after that because he blacked out, except seeing Meeks go down on the ground. He was going to run himself but he was having difficulty breathing. He then called 911.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier during his opening statement told the jury the evidence would show that Meeks and Moore were the victims and Martin came armed with a gun and intended to shoot both men, a shooting without justification.

Sara Smith, Martin’s lawyer, in her opening agreed that the three men meet for a drug deal but she argued Meeks and Moore planned a “drug rip” – to rob Martin of a large quantity of pills. Martin was “left with no choice” but to defend himself.

Smith asked jurors to take all the evidence as a whole and come the logical conclusion that Martin was the victim in a robbery. There’s no question that Martin shot the men but it’s up to the jury to evaluate the evidence and decide the “how and why,” she said.

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An emergency room doctor and a surgeon also testifed earlier, saying Moore had gunshot wound to his left chest, just above the rib cage. The bullet caused injury to his colon and small intestine, which were life threatening injuries. If not treated, he would have died.

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

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