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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for helping two others rob his roommate of drugs and money and then kill the man when he fought back.
Durojaiye A. Rosa, 24, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and voluntary manslaughter. Rosa, as part of his plea agreement, also testified against Reginald Little, 46, in November, who was found guilty of the first-degree murder for Kejuan Winters, 21, of Iowa City, on April 20, 2020.
Testimony at Little’s trial showed Little and Rosa planned to rob Winters of drugs and money. Little had purchased drugs from Winters in the past and Rosa was Winter’s roommate. Both men knew Winters had a large supply of drugs.
The men hadn’t planned to kill Winters during the robbery, but during a struggle Winters was fatally shot while his two children and his girlfriend, Tashauna Gooden, were in the apartment. The children and girlfriend were not harmed.
Rosa, during testimony at Little’s trial, said he had a gun “go missing” and thought Winters knew who had taken it. Rosa said he was mad because Winters hadn’t done anything about it, and that’s when he plotted the robbery with Little.
Patrick Bland, 34, of Rockford, Ill., also charged with first-degree murder, testified Little brought him into the robbery scheme. The two men lived near each other and were acquaintances.
Investigators presented evidence Little was communicating with Rosa about entering Winters’ apartment moments before shots were fired. Rosa told Little that Gooden had left and would be gone about 20 minutes.
Bland and Little were sitting in Little’s car in the parking lot waiting for the girlfriend to leave.
Bland, who had a gun and was wearing a stocking mask, went inside to rob Winters, according to testimony. Gooden came back and saw Winters struggling with Bland but she couldn’t identify him because of the mask.
Rosa pulled Gooden and the children into the bathroom before the shots were fired.
Gooden testified she tried to get Rosa to go help Winters but he didn’t.
Bland is serving a 60-year sentence for his role in Kejuan Winters’ death.
Rosa, during Little’s trial, also testified he was shot in the head and foot that evening by Winters’ father, Tyris D. Winters Sr., 43, of Peoria, Ill., and Tony M. Watkins, 40, of Iowa City, who confronted him about Kejuan’s death. They were charged with attempted murder.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns dismissed Watkins’ charge and vacated his guilty plea last week after a prosecutor, in a motion, said that a witness came forward with new evidence that another person confessed to shooting Rosa.
Tyris Winters pleaded guilty to willful injury and was sentenced last Friday to five years in prison.
Rosa must serve 17 1/2 years of the 50 before being eligible for parole.
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