Public Safety

Cedar Rapids sees drop in homicides in 2018

A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)
A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)

In 2018, Cedar Rapids saw its lowest number of homicides in six years, according to data from the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

The data shows three people were killed in 2018, which is half the number of violent deaths recorded the year before.

“We’re always happy to see fewer murders,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said. “One murder is too many … so we would like to see that number get to zero and stay there. And we work very hard to take whatever action we can to prevent violence.”

Jerman said investigators have made arrests in each of 2018’s homicide cases, and two of the cases have since been adjudicated.

Cedar Rapids saw its first homicide of 2018 early in the year on Jan. 14, when AnnaElise Edgeton, 18, was shot and killed in her apartment at Shamrock Apartments on Jacolyn Drive SW.

Police said Edgeton was killed when a man broke into her apartment and shot her in the chest. She was found dead on the living room floor, according to court documents.

Kyler Junkins, 20, of Marion, is charged with first-degree burglary and first-degree murder in Edgeton’s death. His trial is set for Feb. 4.

Roughly three months later, a second woman was killed.

Police said Gina Frederiksen, 38, of Cedar Rapids was killed in her garage during a burglary on April 29.

Tim Evans, 39, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the slaying, admitting he used a crowbar to kill Frederiksen during a robbery. Evans then set fire to the garage — at 1814 I St. SW — to cover up his crime.

Evans was sentenced on Dec. 7 to life in prison without parole, the mandatory term for a first-degree murder conviction in Iowa.

The city’s third homicide took place in June, when Scott Dexter, 38, of Cedar Rapids was beaten and left for dead at Greene Square.

Troy Wilson, 47, of Cedar Rapids pleaded guilty on Dec. 14 to involuntary manslaughter as a habitual offender in the fatal assault, admitting that on June 5 he “intentionally” struck Dexter in the head.

A criminal complaint shows Wilson left Dexter unconscious in a grassy area near the spiral sculpture on the Third Avenue SE side of the park.

Dexter was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, but doctors found no sign of brain activity. He died shortly after being taken off life support June 9, according to court documents.

Chief Jerman said the fact that all three cases have been closed is a testament to the efforts put forth by the department’s investigators, patrol officers and the Police Community Action Team.

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“The men and women of this agency continue to do a great job,” he said. “We don’t give up when it comes to solving cases and bringing justice to the victims of violent crime and their families. Whether the crime happened two weeks or 20 years ago, we continue to work those cases and we continue to follow up on all the leads and information provided, and the (Michelle) Martinko case is a perfect example of that.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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