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IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man, convicted in November of first-degree murder, told the family of the victim that he wasn’t the shooter before a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
Reginald Little, 46, was unapologetic to Kejuan Winters’ family who attended the Friday sentencing in Johnson County District Court.
Little continued to deny his role the fatal drug robbery on April 20, 2020.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson denied the defense’s motion for new trial, which argued there was lack of sufficient evidence and other issues at trial, and sentenced Little to life in prison without parole.
He also ordered Little to pay $150,000 in restitution to Winters’ heirs, which is required under Iowa law.
According to trial testimony, Little and Durojaiye Rosa, 24, also of Iowa City, planned to rob Winters of drugs and money April 20, 2020.
Little had bought drugs before from Winters, and Rosa was Winters’ roommate. Both men planned the robbery because they knew Winters had a large supply of drugs.
The men hadn’t planned to kill Winters, but a struggle ensued, and Winters was fatally shot while his two children and his girlfriend, Tashauna Gooden, were in their apartment. The children and girlfriend were not harmed.
Rosa, also charged with first-degree murder, testified at Little’s trial and said he had a gun “go missing” and thought Winters knew who had taken it. Rosa was upset because Winters hadn’t done anything about it, and that’s when he devised the plan with Little.
Patrick Bland, 34, of Rockford, Ill., also charged with first-degree murder, testified Little brought him into the robbery scheme.
Police initially didn’t know Bland was involved until they recovered surveillance camera footage, which provided the prosecution with much of the evidence in the case, according to testimony.
Investigators presented evidence Little was communicating with Rosa about entering Winters’ apartment moments before shots were fired. Rosa told Little that Gooden, Winters’ girlfriend, 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 of drugs and money, according to testimony. Gooden came back and saw Winters struggling with Bland but said she couldn’t identify him because of the mask.
Rosa pulled Gooden and the children into the bathroom before the shots were fired. Winters died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Bland and Rosa were offered plea agreements to lesser charges for testifying at Little’s trial.
Rosa pleaded last month to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and voluntary manslaughter. He faces up to 50 years in prison and must serve 17 1/2 years before being eligible for parole. His sentencing is set for March 4.
Bland also pleaded last month to second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon. He was sentenced up to 60 years in prison and must serve a mandatory minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole.
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