116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Wayne Friend said Friday he thinks about his son, Wayne Jones, every day since his son was fatally shot over a pack of cigarettes during a party Nov. 2, 2019.
He thinks about the card his son gave him three years ago, calling his father a “hero.”
“No parent should have to bury a child,” Friend, tearing up at times, said during the sentencing of his son’s killer, Jermaine Walker, 38, of Cedar Rapids, in Linn County District Court.
“I wish we would learn how to respond instead of react.”
Friend also offered his condolences to Walker, who lost his 15-year-old son while he was in jail. He said he knows he must forgive Walker before moving forward.
Walker, originally charged with first-degree murder, pleaded in October to amended charges of voluntary manslaughter, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, prohibited person in possession of a firearm, trafficking stolen weapons and assault while displaying a dangerous weapon.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Andrew Chappell ran all the charges consecutively, in accordance with the plea agreement.
Tiffany Jones, Wayne’s sister, said she didn’t think she could come in the courtroom and look at Walker. She wants to know why her brother was killed though she realizes it won’t change anything.
She said her mother, who died a few months ago, had been waiting for Walker’s trial, but it kept being reset and she didn’t make it. She feels like this “whole situation” killed her mother.
Tearing up, Tiffany Jones said these violent incidents have to stop because she doesn’t want anyone else to feel the way she does.
She said she never thought Walker was evil and had heard good things about him from others. She said she blamed the loss of her brother on drugs and guns.
During sentencing, Walker apologized to Wayne Jones’ family and offered condolences to them for their losses. He also thanked his own family, also in the courtroom, for their support, which was “essential” to his survival.
He said he didn’t want to return home from prison as the same person who went in. He wants to change and continue his “evolution” into someone better.
Walker also thanked his lawyer, Alfredo Parrish, and First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks for giving him an opportunity to “own what I did.”
He also hoped the Jones family can forgive him one day, not for him, but for themselves, because he knows what anger and pain can do to someone.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Keshawna Rich called 911 at 5:43 a.m. Nov. 2, saying someone had been shot in the chest. Officers found Jones, who had an empty gun holster on his hip, lying on the living room floor with a gunshot wound to his chest.
He was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital by ambulance and died there at 6:47 a.m., according to the affidavit.
Rich initially wasn’t truthful with police about what had happened. Later, a caller identified as “L.J.,” told police Rich admitted she’d lied to police and that the shooting was over a pack of cigarettes.
Walker, while at the party, was smoking other people’s cigarettes, and Jones called him out for being “cheap,” which started an argument.
Walker left the party and came back with a gun. He shot Jones and pointed the gun at Rich’s head, threatening her and telling her not to tell anyone what had happened.
Walker also pleaded in October to another misdemeanor charge of assault after wielding a revolver in a threatening manner toward Euery J. Williams on Oct. 19, 2019. That charge was run concurrently with the other charges Friday.
Walker will have to serve a mandatory minimum of five years before being eligible for parole.
Chappell also ordered Walker to pay $150,000 in restitution to Jones’ heirs and more than $10,000 in restitution to the crime victim’s assistance program.
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