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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Dimione Walker denied more than once that he shot Michael Valentine in the Taboo Nightclub & Lounge on April 10, a police investigator testified Tuesday during Walker’s murder trial.
In fact, Walker even denied knowing Valentine, who his lawyer in her opening statement Monday admitted her client shot, but argued it was in self-defense because Walker was fearful of his presence at the club due to past altercations.
Chip Joecken, Cedar Rapids police investigator, testified Tuesday that Walker — during a police interview — denied the shooting was in self-defense. Walker said he didn’t know what investigators were talking about. Joecken said he or another investigator suggested self-defense as a way to get Walker to tell them what happened in the crowded club during those early morning hours.
Walker, 29, of Coralville, is charged with first-degree murder, going armed with intent and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He is claiming self-defense in the fatal shooting of Valentine, 25, of Cedar Rapids.
There were 10 others also injured during the club shooting. Another man, Timothy Rush, 32, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with killing Nicole Owens, 35, and Marvin L. Cox, 31, the same night. Rush’s trial is set for March 28.
The prosecution rested and the defense will start its case Wednesday.
Walker, who had been identified by Joecken through a surveillance video from the club, also denied being at the club that night, Joecken said. Walker told him it “didn’t ring a bell.” When shown the video, Joecken said Walker also denied that he was the person firing eight cartridges from a semi-automatic 9 mm gun at Valentine.
⧉ Related article: Live coverage: Day two of the Dimione Walker murder trial
The video was shown Monday to the jurors and one angle shows Walker facing the camera and firing the gun, which Joecken recognized as a semi-automatic weapon.
Joecken said he thought maybe Walker knew Valentine by his nickname, “Roscoe,” but Walker didn’t admit or deny he did. He started talking about a rapper named Roscoe.
Quint Meyerdirk, Walker’s lawyer, asked wasn’t it common for people to not be truthful with police.
Dr. Dennis Klein, chief state medical examiner and forensic pathologist, testified about the autopsy performed on Valentine April 12. He identified photos of the five gunshot injuries to Valentine, two of which were “intermediate range wounds” — fired within a range of a few inches to a few feet.
One shot struck Valentine in the left side of his nose and the bullet exited through the right side of his face. Klein said those wounds can cause a lot of bleeding and sometimes an individual can suffocate from the blood. This is an intermediate range wound, which he could determine by the stippling — tattoo-like effect of the gunpowder surrounding the entrance of the bullet.
Klein also identified three gunshots to Valentine’s back, which included one fatal injury. He had one wound to his upper back that missed the spinal cord and one near his mid-back area on the right side. That one was the most significant in causing immediate death.
That cartridge struck his aorta — main artery of body — heart and lungs, Klein said. Valentine had bleeding in his chest cavity from the injuries.
The other gunshot to his back hit the lumbar vertebrae, which provides support for the weight of the body and surrounds and protects the spinal cord.
Klein said surveillance video of the shooting shows Valentine turning and twisting his body as he was struck, which matches some of the gunshot injuries. When Valentine raised his hand to block his face, another bullet went through the top of his left hand and exited his palm.
The gunshot to his right shoulder also was at close range, possibly inches away, due to the soot found on his shirt, Klein said.
The cause of death was multiple gunshot injuries, and homicide was the manner of death, Klein concluded. He also determined more than one gunshot injury could have caused Valentine’s death.
Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey continues her live coverage from the courtroom Wednesday.
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