Public Safety

Cedar Rapids woman's bail money came from activists - not him, Linn County lawyer says

Public defender: Posting the supplied money was not inappropriate

Jacqueline Holmes
Jacqueline Holmes

CEDAR RAPIDS — A public defender for a woman charged in the fatal stabbing of her boyfriend who helped her post bail last week said the money wasn’t his — it was provided by a Chicago group that helps African Americans.

Tyler Johnston, a Linn County public defender, said Saturday the $4,781 was transferred to him by “Blck Rising,” an activist group that has been involved in the Black Lives Matter protests, for his client, Jacqueline Holmes, 36, who is charged with first-degree murder. Johnston posted the funds and signed the bail form.

The rest of the $8,000 bail that was required — $3,219 — was paid by Ann Smith, Holmes’ mother who lives in Chicago. Holmes’ bail was $75,000, but a judge allowed her to pay a percentage.

Johnston said none of the money was his and said he didn’t feel The Gazette had given him enough time to respond to a request for comment before publishing an article. In the article, a number of legal experts were asked to comment on attorneys posting bail on behalf of their clients.

Johnston said he was upset by the article — that it did not pose a conflict nor was unethical for him to help post bail money that was supplied by someone else.

A court document shows the bail form was signed by Johnston and didn’t provide additional information about a source of the money.

Last month, 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady lowered the $750,000 bail to $25,000 for Holmes, charged with first-degree murder, but she was arrested the day after posting it for violating pretrial release. She picked up a new charge for attempting to take an eyebrow razor and cigarette lighters into the Linn County Jail.


Grady raised her bail to $75,000 on the murder charge and $5,000 on the possession of a weapon in a correctional facility.

Holmes is accused in the death of her boyfriend, Tremaine Williams, 35, on March 4. The fatal stabbing happened after Holmes had been playing cards and drinking alcohol with Phillip Rogers and others at his home in the 700 block of Eighth Avenue SW, according to court documents.

Police arrived about 4:25 a.m. and found Holmes sitting over the “bloodied” body of Williams, who was taken to the hospital and died an hour later.

A search warrant affidavit showed three 911 calls were made, and on the third call Holmes spoke with a dispatcher. She was crying and said her fiance’s chest wasn’t “rising.” The dispatcher tried to walk her through CPR, but she said she couldn’t do it because Williams had a laceration near his shoulder.

When interviewed by police, Holmes changed her story several times, according to records. She admitted to stabbing him and then recanted. She then said she wasn’t sure if he was stabbed or shot.

Holmes said Williams assaulted her by punching and kicking her in the head, legs and neck.

Johnston said Holmes also had injuries and defensive wounds.

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