116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge Tuesday gave an 18-year-old Cedar Rapids man a deferred judgment and probation for a robbery that ended in the death of his cousin last year because he successfully completed probation in juvenile court for some of the charges and had made efforts to change his life.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover sentenced Tyrell J. Gaston to three years’ probation for his conviction of second-degree robbery. His sentencing on the robbery was delayed a year so he could complete his probation for the other charges — conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana, carrying weapons and obstructing prosecution — in juvenile court.
Last year, when Gaston pleaded guilty, Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter said she would recommend the deferred judgment if Gaston successfully completed probation without violations in juvenile court.
Slaughter, during Tuesday’s hearing, said she was “comfortable” recommending the deferred judgment because Gaston had tried to make up for his bad decision that “created terrible harm” for others. Gaston completed programming at Hillcrest Family Services, an adolescent residential treatment facility in Dubuque, and made efforts to change his life.
Tom Viner, Gaston’s lawyer, said during the sentencing that when Gaston returned to Cedar Rapids, he went back to school and graduated from Jefferson High and was employed to provide for his 3-month-old daughter.
Gaston, during sentencing, said he realizes now that his bad decision on Jan. 24 of last year not only affected the victim but also his family and others. Looking back now, he would have done everything differently, he said.
Being back in the community has been difficult because staying away from negative influences also has brought harassment to him and his family, Gaston said.
“I wished I could go back in time and do things differently,” he added. “Going forward, I hope I can be there for my daughter.”
Hoover told him the positive steps he took since he pleaded guilty last year made him a good candidate for a deferred judgment. She commended him for making an effort to take care of his mental health and being in therapy because “mental injuries are just as serious as broken bones. The hard work begins now with this deferred judgment. Practice good habits during probation.”
Last year, Gaston, during the plea hearing, admitted that he and his cousin, Andrew Gaston, 18, planned to rob Kyler Carson, 17 at the time, of marijuana.
According to a criminal complaint, police responded to a report of shots being fired at 11:48 p.m. Jan. 24 and found Tyrell Gaston and his cousin with gunshot wounds in the parking lot of 3217 Agin Ct. NE.
During the investigation, police learned Tyrell and Andrew Gaston had arranged, with the help of others, to rob Carson that night. Witnesses told investigators they contacted Carson and “lured” him to the address to rob him.
Carson thought he was making a drug sale of $900 for 45 tubes of marijuana, the complaint stated.
Authorities said while Carson was delivering marijuana to the others in their car, the cousins and a third person ambushed Carson from behind.
Andrew Gaston struck Carson in the back of the head with a metal object, according to the complaint. Carson turned around and exchanged gunfire with Tyrell Gaston before running from the parking lot, witnesses told police.
Andrew Gaston was shot and died at the scene. Tyrell Gaston had a gunshot injury to his ankle.
Carson, now 19, is charged with voluntary manslaughter and other charges in the fatal shooting Andrew Gaston. His trial is set for Dec. 7.
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