CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man who took part in a robbery that led to a fatal shooting last year pleaded guilty Tuesday and faces seven to 20 years in prison.
Kordell Jones, 19, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to attempted robbery and using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, according to court documents. A plea agreement has yet to be filed because the case involves four other co-conspirators.
Jones faces a mandatory minimum of seven years on the gun charge and up to 20 years in federal prison on the robbery charge.
Investigators say Jones and four others took park in a marijuana deal that ended in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Dylan Plotz on Feb. 1, 2017. Each of the men face robbery, drugs or gun charges, but according to testimony during previous hearings, authorities don’t know who fired the 20-gauge shotgun that killed Plotz.
During previous hearings, investigators said Plotz, 21-year-old Dillon Beener of Cedar Rapids, Jones and a juvenile, who was driving but has not been charged, traveled from Cedar Rapids to Chase Zerba’s home in rural Coggon where they planned to rob Zerba of a half-pound of marijuana. Plotz was armed with a .40-caliber pistol, according to testimony.
Zerba asked friends Tyler Clemens, 23, of Alburnett, and Cameron Klouda, 21, of Coggon, to come over in case something went wrong, and they waited in a minivan outside the house to make the drug deal. Clemens and Zerba took a shotgun from the house, which Clemens loaded and carried to the van, according to authorities.
After discussing the price of marijuana, Plotz, who was outside the van with Beener and Jones, pointed his gun at Zerba, authorities said. According to testimony, Zerba then yelled “Pull it up,” and Clemens raised the shotgun and discharged it.
When authorities arrived, they found Plotz dead with a shotgun wound to the face.
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Despite testimony that Clemens fired the gun, authorities say they have not determined who pulled the trigger. According to separate testimony given during a detention hearing, Clemens told police he thought Klouda pulled the trigger.
During a previous detention hearing, U.S. Chief Magistrate C.J. Williams said he seldom saw a defendant at Jones’ age who had committed more violent crimes.
Williams detailed some of Jones’ criminal history, which began at age 16 and included drugs; assaulting a girlfriend; assaulting someone with a claw hammer, baseball bat and bottle; sexually assaulting a woman; and robbing four people of marijuana and beating them.
Jones committed some of these crimes while under pretrial release, authorities say. The robbery and beating happened a month before Plotz’s death.
Beener’s trial is set for Oct. 15, and trial for Zerba, Clemens and Klouda will be Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court.
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