116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge Thursday set a $1.5 million bail for a Cedar Rapids man charged with two counts of first-degree murder in two fatal shootings that happened within 24 hours of each other in January.
Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Russell Keast, during an initial appearance hearing, ordered the bail for Kazius Childress, 20, without hearing any arguments from the prosecution or defense.
Childress was formally charged with the two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of going armed with intent. He was arrested on a warrant Tuesday by U.S. Marshals in Davenport. Cedar Rapids police had asked for the marshals’ assistance in locating Childress, who they believed had left the area.
Childress is accused of fatally shooting Cordal R. Lewis, 19, and Kavon I. Johnson, 22, on Jan. 27 and 28.
Lewis’ father attended the hearing but immediately left the courtroom and two Cedar Rapids police officers walked with him out of the courthouse.
Lewis was shot and killed Jan. 27 in the 300 block of 31st Street Drive SE, according to a complaint. Police found his body at 2:39 p.m. with one or more gunshot wounds. He died at the scene.
A subsequent investigation revealed Lewis had been at 309 31st Street Dr. SE with other individuals, and the murder weapon was found during a search at that home, the complaint stated.
Investigators were recently provided surveillance video from the home that showed Lewis was shot by Childress. The video showed Lewis running away as Childress shot several times at him.
The second complaint stated that Johnson was found dead at 7:25 a.m. Jan. 28 in the parking lot of Cedar Valley Park, 2250 Blakely Blvd. SE. The cause of death appeared to be gunshot wounds.
Further investigation and surveillance video showed Johnson had been at the Kum & Go, 1420 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, in a vehicle with Childress within minutes of another video and audio clip that showed a vehicle matching the same description entering Cedar Valley Park and multiple gunshots being fired.
Childress admitted being at the scene when Johnson was shot, the complaint stated. He was also recently identified by a witness as the person who shot and killed Johnson.
The complaints don’t provide a motive or the connection, if any, between the two victims or Childress. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said Thursday they were “associates” but declined to provide further information.
The only known connection between Lewis and Johnson is that Lewis and two other men were charged with assaulting Johnson June 17, 2020. Lewis pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor, and served time in the Linn County Jail.
Christian Emedi and Marshawn Jeffries also were charged in the assault of Johnson. Emedi and Jeffries were sentenced in January in the June 18, 2020, murder of Malik Sheets.
Maybanks said on Tuesday his office believes there are individuals that have more information about the shootings and wants to encourage those individuals to come forward and cooperate with the police.
Childress does have some criminal history with guns. He pleaded in 2020 to carrying weapons and providing false information to police. According to a complaint, he had a loaded 9 mm handgun concealed in his waistband without a permit July 16, 2020.
Childress also was charged in an earlier incident on March 6, 2020, for having a concealed weapon without a permit. Childress again had a 9 mm weapon concealed in his waistband. District Associate Judge Casey Jones dismissed this charge as part of plea agreement in the July case and gave him a deferred judgment and probation in November 2020.
Childress picked up another charge June 2, 2021, of interference with officials acts, a simple misdemeanor, while on probation, according to court records. Assistant Linn County Attorney Molly Edwards asked the court to revoke his probation, but Associate District Judge Nicholas Scott convicted him of contempt and sentenced him to two days in jail. He was fined $250.
His other misdemeanor convictions included theft, trespassing and providing false identification information.
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