Public Safety

Brawl outside Cedar Rapids strip club involving thrown propane tank earns 3 men trip back to federal prison

Two Cedar Rapids men and one Ely man already on probation

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two Cedar Rapids men and one Ely man, who were on federal probation following drug and gun convictions, are headed back to prison for assaulting two men in the parking lot of a local strip club in February.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade on Monday sentenced Lashaun Perry, 43, and Maurice Bivens, 40, both of Cedar Rapids, and Montrivel Woods, 42, of Ely, to two years in prison, following an evidentiary hearing last month.

Evidence at the hearing showed that early February 2, Perry, Bivens, and Woods got into a fight with two men, not identified, outside The Lumberyard, a strip club in Cedar Rapids. 

The fight was broken up and the two unidentified men drove to another parking lot, according to court documents. One of those men got out of the car and took a propane tank from a gas grill in the parking lot. He then took the propane tank out to the street where the vehicle with Perry, Bivens, Woods, and another man were driving by. 

Surveillance video showed the man with the propane tank running back into the parking lot without the tank, soon followed by Bivens, Woods and Perry.   Court documents show, prosecutors believe the man threw the propane tank at the vehicle of Perry, Woods and Bivens, which started a fight.

During the brawl, one of the victims was knocked to the ground, and Perry stomped and kicked his head while Bivens was holding him, according to court documents. Perry, Bivens, and Woods then pursued the other victim to a corner of the parking lot, where Perry punched him twice in the head, knocking him unconscious. 

That man had a concussion and significant bleeding from the back of his head. 

After the man was unconscious on the ground, Bivens immediately took his cell phone and smashed it on the ground. Woods then took the unconscious man’s cash, cigarettes, and “bright orange” shoes.

At the time of the fight, Perry, Woods, and Bivens were all on supervised release — federal probation — for prior federal convictions. Woods was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine; Bivens was convicted in 2008 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; and Perry was convicted in 2013 of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

There were no new charges filed against the men but prosecutors argued that each committed aiding and abetting willful injury and assault with intent to inflict serious injury and first-degree theft according to state laws.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham, in revocation documents, said Perry intended to cause serious injury to the victim. He “stalked down” the victim and punched him twice in the face, knocking him unconscious. Perry then walked away, showing no concern for the unconscious victim lying on the ground.

Chatham said Bivens also helped Perry in his attacks. He threw the first punch at one victim. He then held down the other victim while Perry stomped on his head.

Bivens and Woods then “took to looting his body,” Chatham said.

Bivens and Perry may claim they acted in self-defense because the man threw the propane tank at their car but that didn’t warrant the violent attack on him and the other man, Chatham said.  

“Simply put, the force the defendants used far exceeded what could be perceived as the minimal force necessary to prevent injury or loss,” Chatham argued.

Iowa’s defense of justification doesn’t apply to the facts in this case, he added. The three will remain in jail under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until they are taken to federal prisons.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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