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Complaint: Cedar Rapids man had previous altercation with Devonna Walker
Teslik should have known racial slur would provoke violent response, according to complaint
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man being charged with fatally stabbing Devonna Walker was assaulted by her in December and should have known calling her a racial slur would “provoke a violent response” from Walker, according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday.
Walker, 29, was in an argument Jan. 2 with the wife of Shane Teslik, 37, outside of his home at 2135 North Towne Court NE, the complaint states. Teslik attempted to get his wife to come back inside their apartment several times and then “interjected himself” into the argument after the women had been arguing for several minutes.
During the argument, Teslik went back inside and then came back to his apartment doorway, armed with a kitchen knife. Teslik then yelled for Walker to “Shut the (expletive) up” and called her a racial slur, the complaint shows.
“The defendant directed this abusive epithet at Walker and knew or reasonably should have known that it would provoke a violent response from Walker because Walker had previously assaulted (Teslik’s wife) and the defendant during a verbal argument on Dec. 19, 2022, and Walker was known to be a violent person,” Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said in the complaint.
After being called this “abusive epithet,” Walker “charged” at Teslik from the sidewalk in front of the apartment, pushing Teslik’s wife the ground, according to the complaint. Walker then struck Teslik twice on the left side of his face.
“Being seriously provoked by Walker’s assault on (his wife) and on him and acting out of sudden, violent and irresistible passion from being assaulted by Walker, the defendant did not regain control or suppress the impulse to kill and used the knife he brought” to stab Walker once in the left side of her chest, Maybanks said.
Walker, a mother of three, died from the stab wound. An autopsy found she had one fatal stab wound, and had alcohol and drugs in her system.
The homicide was captured on a cellphone video taken by a neighbor, which has been shared on social media. A coalition of activists groups have been protesting since the fatal stabbing happened, demanding an arrest be made.
Maybanks, in the complaint, said the use of deadly force by Teslik was not justified because it wasn’t reasonable under these circumstances — Teslik “provoked the use of force against him and/or was committing a public offense at the time of the killing.”
Teslik had previously told Walker that if she came near his home or his family that he would kill her and had called Walker the same racial slur after Walker assaulted him and his wife in December, the complaint states.
Teslik is charged with voluntary manslaughter and disorderly conduct. He will have an initial appearance Wednesday and be formally charged in Linn County District Court. He remained in jail Tuesday under a $50,000 bail.
Maybanks told The Gazette Tuesday that Teslik was arrested Monday by the Spencer Police Department in Clay County on a warrant issued for his arrest. If convicted, Teslik faces up to 10 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.
Tamara Marcus, a co-founder of Advocates for Social Justice, said Monday after Maybanks announced the arrest of Teslik, that the coalition of nonprofits is relieved to see the criminal charges but want to acknowledge that nothing will bring Walker back.
“A human life was still taken at the hands of another person. We hope to see justice for Devonna’s family so they can at least feel an ounce of peace moving forward,” Marcus said in a statement.
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