116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cedar Rapids police responded to a report of a suicide June 21, 2019, in a detached garage at a southwest Cedar Rapids home, where they found Randal Campbell dead with an air rifle positioned on his lap.
An autopsy showed Campbell, 44, was fatally shot at close range with the air rifle, with the pellet entering his right eye and lodging in his brain, according to the complaint.
Police continued to investigate, learning that Joshua Kenneth Conklin, now 29, had been living in Campbell’s garage before having a conflict with Campbell’s mother, who owned the residence.
During their investigation, police learned Conklin had been in possession of an air rifle. Additionally, video surveillance showed Conklin and his girlfriend, Felisha Campbell, were near the detached garage and left after her uncle, Randal Campbell, had been shot.
According to court documents, Felisha Campbell was present at the shooting and suggested staging the scene to look like a suicide.
Police said she initially lied to investigators about her and Conklin's involvement but eventually said Conklin had shot her uncle with the air rifle and then returned to the garage to leave the air rifle and stage the crime scene.
Conklin was an inmate at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility on unrelated charges when police obtained a warrant for his arrest on July 27, 2020.
Investigators obtained a search warrant in the case in January 2021, 18 months after Campbell was killed. That same month, the Linn County Attorney’s Office charged Conklin with second-degree murder and obstruction of prosecution.
Conklin admitted to police he knew the air rifle was capable of killing animals and his fingerprints were found on the air rifle.
On the obstruction charge, he is accused of altering or disguising physical evidence and/or furnishing false information.
Felisha Campbell, now 28, was arrested Dec. 21 of last year, following a police pursuit when she attempted to elude officers in a stolen vehicle. She was charged with conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and accessory after the fact, as well as several charges stemming from the eluding incident.
What’s happened since
Conklin pleaded not guilty and is planning to claim self-defense at trial.
His trial, first set for January 2022, has been reset four times.
Last week, his trial -- which had been set for Nov. 14 -- was reset to Jan. 31. The prosecution asked for the continuance because a state medical examiner wasn’t available for the November trial because she’s on maternity leave.
Conklin, if convicted of second-degree murder, faces up to 50 years in prison. He remains in the Linn County Jail.
Felisha Campbell pleaded guilty to a lesser charge — conspiracy to obstruct prosecution — and accessory after the fact and faces up to four years in prison. Her sentencing is Dec. 13.
She also pleaded guilty to attempt to elude, possession of methamphetamine and other charges in the unrelated case. She faces up to 14 years on those charges if they are consecutively.
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