Public Safety

Murder trial reset to October for 17-year-old charged in 2016 fatal shooting

(FILE PHOTO) Kenyauta Vesey-Keith (center) stands with attorneys Todd Weimer and Amy Dollash during a hearing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 8, 2016.  (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
(FILE PHOTO) Kenyauta Vesey-Keith (center) stands with attorneys Todd Weimer and Amy Dollash during a hearing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 8, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The murder trial for a 17-year-old accused of shooting a 21-year-old man and injuring another teen in 2016 has been reset to October 15 in Linn County District Court.

Lawyers for Kenyauta Vesey-Keith asked the court last week to continue his trial because they wanted more time to prepare a defense in light of gaining access to additional police reports. The trial was previously set to start Jan. 29.

Vesey-Keith, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury and intimidation with a weapon. He is accused of fatally shooting Brandon Johnson, also of Cedar Rapids, on March 19, 2016.


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Johnson was killed during a fight in the 1100 block of Maplewood Drive NE, a criminal complaint shows. At least a dozen people, adults and juveniles, were fighting that day in the middle of the street.

Police say Vesey-Keith, who was 16 at the time, got a gun from a vehicle, fired multiple rounds, with bullets hitting two people. Johnson was killed and Deaveon Gaudlin, 16 at the time, was seriously injured.

The 2016 fatal shooting was a continuation of a dispute that began with a brawl in the Lindale Mall food court in February 2014, police said. That mall fight turned into an ongoing rivalry between two families and their friends.

Vesey-Keith’s mother, Saresa Keith, 39, was convicted of child endangerment and assault causing bodily injury for her participation in the street fight. She received a suspended jail sentence and two years probation in November.

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

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