116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A 19-year-old Cedar Rapids man — charged last week in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Illinois girl in July — had been convicted a month earlier for trafficking stolen weapons, but he was out on probation after receiving a deferred judgment.
Marshawn Rome Jackson, according to court documents, had at least two previous convictions, including being on juvenile probation Oct. 14, 2020, when he picked up his first adult conviction for stealing a vehicle. Officers were able to connect him to that crime by his electronic GPS monitor, which was ordered as part of his juvenile probation.
Jackson pleaded to a lesser charge of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and was sentenced to 30 days in jail last February.
No details about his juvenile record are in court documents because those records are not public.
The gun trafficking charge came after officers found a stolen 9 mm handgun at Jackson’s residence Feb. 22, 2021, according to court documents. Jackson admitted to the theft and pleaded to the charge. Sixth Judicial District Judge Paul Miller sentenced him to three years probation and granted a deferred judgment, which was part of plea agreement, in June of last year.
Jackson had several probation violations, including not showing up for probation appointments, missing at least seven appointments, abusing illegal substances, struggling to comply with drug testing, missing curfews and failing to gain employment, according to a Dec. 14, 2021, probation report.
The Linn County Attorney’s Office filed to revoke his probation last month, and Jackson was arrested and jailed.
While in jail, Jackson was charged with assault on a peace officer causing injury, an aggravated misdemeanor, on Jan. 7, after punching a Linn County Sheriff’s deputy, according to a criminal complaint.
The deputy was escorting Jackson back to his cell when Jackson started making “valid threats” to the jail staff, the complaint stated. The deputy directed Jackson to place his hands behind his back, but Jackson “ripped out of the (deputy’s) grasp” and hit the deputy on the right side of his face with a closed fist, the complaint stated. The deputy had swelling and abrasion on the corner of his right eye.
While in jail, Jackson was charged Saturday with first-degree murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and person ineligible to carry dangerous weapons. He remains in the Linn County Jail on a $1 million bail.
Jackson is accused of fatally shooting 15-year-old Tyliyah L. Whitis of Peoria, Ill., who was found dead in the driver’s seat of her sister’s car July 21, 2021. The car had crashed at the Hawthorne Hills Apartment Complex in the 2200 block of C Street SW.
The Iowa state medical examiner determined Whitis had died of a gunshot wound to the chest and ruled her death a homicide.
Whitis was visiting her sister, T’yanna Nesby, in Cedar Rapids. Nesby told The Gazette after the shooting that she found out her sister had been shot when she reported her car missing that morning.
The night before, Nesby said, she had gone to bed about 11 p.m. That next morning, she noticed her car was missing and that her sister wasn’t home. Nesby said she had an idea why her sister might have taken the car but declined to share it because she didn’t want to jeopardize the investigation.
Nesby did say she believed her sister may have been targeted in a possible robbery-gone-bad scenario. Police have not given a possible motive for the slaying.
According to school records, Whitis attended Harrison Elementary n Cedar Rapids from second to fifth grades — from December 2013 to June 2017 — and started sixth grade at Roosevelt Middle School in 2017 before moving to Peoria with her mother.
Nesby said her sister was a straight-A student who played basketball, worked two jobs and aspired to own her own business.
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