Prosecutor argues suspect Quarzone Martin voluntarily talked to police

Martin faces murder charge in July shooting near Walmart

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A police investigator testified Wednesday that Quarzone Martin, accused in the fatal shooting of one man and the wounding of another, was willing to talk to police and waived his Miranda rights when police questioned him about the shooting.

Cedar Rapids police investigator Matthew Denlinger said Martin initially wanted a lawyer during a Sept. 26 interview at the Cook County Jail in Chicago after U.S. marshals arrested him Sept. 22 in Chicago.

Denlinger or another investigator told Martin they would have to stop talking to him if he wanted a lawyer.

Denlinger said Martin continued to ask the investigators what they wanted to know about the July 2 shooting when Andrew Meeks, 26, was fatally shot and Johnny Moore Jr., 30, was injured.

Denlinger said he told Martin they would have to read him his rights, and he needed to sign a waiver, in order for them to continue talking to him.

Martin, through his lawyers, is asking the court to not allow testimony from that interview at his trial, which starts Monday in Linn County District Court.

The defense argues the investigators should have stopped questioning Martin after he invoked his right to not talk to law enforcement without a lawyer present.

Martin, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, going armed with intent and willful injury causing serious injury. He is claiming self-defense.

Police said Meeks and Johnny Moore Jr. were in a car that, after shots were fired, crashed into a guard rail at the Walmart in southwest Cedar Rapids.

Court documents state Martin got into the vehicle driven by Meeks, with Moore as a passenger, in the store’s parking lot. Meeks drove around the parking lot and, at one point, Martin briefly got out. He then jumped back into the car, it rolled into a guardrail and Martin jumped out, dropping his cellphone in the process, the court documents show.

When police arrived, Martin was gone, and Meeks was dying from a gunshot wound to his neck, according to the court document. Moore had been shot in the chest from a bullet that apparently had gone through the car’s front passenger seat.

Denlinger also testified that Martin appeared willing to talk with police investigators even after he had asked about a lawyer. Denlinger said he continued questioning Martin because Martin had signed the waiver.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier argued that it’s clear by the recorded police interview that Martin was willing to talk and had signed the waiver. When Martin, near the end of the interview, asks for a lawyer, the investigators stop the questioning.

Tyler Johnston, Martin’s lawyer, argued that when Martin initially asked for a lawyer, he was invoking his right to not be questioned without a lawyer present. Martin was attempting to find out what he was being accused of before he waived his rights, he added.

Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady said he would take the motion under advisement and make a written ruling.

Martin’s trial is expected to last all of next week.

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

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