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Linn County Attorney will make charging decision in Devonna Walker case this month
Protests continue as prosecutors review case of Jan. 2 stabbing death
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks released a video Friday saying he expects to decide by the end of the month about filing charges in the fatal stabbing of Devonna Walker.
“The homicide of Devonna Walker is a very important case. As of next week, I must also attend to another very important case that will be going to trial in Linn County and will take up to two weeks. The homicide of Devonna Walker will continue to receive attention and be reviewed during this time period,” Maybanks said in the video.
“To assure that multiple eyes are laid upon this important case, I have requested two of my top felony prosecutors to review the case as well. Hopefully, during this time, we will receive the final information we need to make a decision.”
Walker was stabbed Jan. 2 in the 2100 block of North Towne Court NE. Police were called about 6:45 p.m., and Walker was taken to a hospital where she died. Two people were detained and interviewed by Cedar Rapids police, but released. No one has been arrested in connection with her death.
On Jan. 13, the police department said it had finished the investigation and was handing the case over to the Linn County Attorney’s Office. The attorney’s office acknowledged it had received the investigation and would be making it a top priority.
Maybanks said in the video that once his office has made a decision regarding the case, he will inform Walker’s family, and then make a public announcement.
A video of the stabbing, which has been circulating on social media, appears to show Walker, a Black woman, arguing with a white man and woman and engaging in a fight with them before she is stabbed by the man. The man is heard yelling a racial slur at Walker before the physical fight began.
“To be abundantly clear, our office and I, personally, am very aware of the disgusting, hateful and vile language that has been seen on a video that has been publicly accessible. The use of this language is being considered in this investigation, along with all of the other evidence and the law to which we are bound in the State of Iowa,” Maybanks said in his statement.
“I will be direct. There is no place for the use of this disgusting language in a civilized society. The careful consideration that we have been giving to this case should not be construed in any manner to be an expression of ambivalence to the hurt that so many people feel from watching and listening to this language. It is on the top of our minds.”
Activists have been protesting regularly at the Cedar Rapids Police Department, asking for an arrest to be made. A town hall event was hosted Sunday by various activist groups, in which community members discussed the case and what it means for the Black community in Cedar Rapids. Another protest is planned for Saturday.
“I don’t understand why no charges have been pressed, why no one has been prosecuted,” Walker’s mother, LeSean Boles, told The Gazette at the meeting Sunday. “Everything about this is racism, and nothing’s happening. … I want justice for my daughter.”
Jimaine Cooper, a co-founder of Parents Against Violence Everywhere and a friend of Walker’s, has organized most of the protests. He said he feels like the County Attorney’s Office is prolonging the investigation unnecessarily.
“It’s not right for that white man to kill this lady like that and be walking around free, because it’s showing something totally different to us as a Black culture. And it’s sad. It’s really sad. And the more they prolong it, the more it’s making people angry.”
Starting Feb. 7, Maybanks will be involved in the trial of Stanley Donahue, who is accused of robbing the Casey’s General Store at 5110 Highway 13 in Coggon on June 22, 2021, and then shooting Sheriff’s Deputy William Halverson 10 times. Halverson survived the incident. Donahue is charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of false imprisonment, willful injury, attempt to elude, disarming a peace officer, trafficking in stolen weapons and possession of a firearm as a felon.
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