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Public Safety

Trials reset for men accused of fatally shooting a man over drugs in 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — The trial for one of the two men accused of robbing and fatally shooting Tarrance Newman in 2017 will be reset to Nov. 4 in Linn County District Court.

Donald R. Harris, 31, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and going armed with intent, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint shows Harris and Rayshaun D. Friend, 29, also of Cedar Rapids, went to Newman’s home on Nov. 12, 2017, to steal money and drugs. Harris shot Newman, 40, with a handgun during the robbery, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, Harris’ DNA was found at the scene and a witness also identified him as the shooter.

Harris recently changed lawyers, so 6th Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns on Wednesday granted the motion to reset the trial.

Bruns, also in a brief hearing Wednesday for Friend, said Friend’s trial would be reset for early next year. A specific date will be decided later.

A search warrant affidavit shows a woman, who was at Newman’s house the night of the shooting, told police that after she was texting with Harris and Friend, they came to the house and forced their way inside.

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The woman said she was in the kitchen doing dishes when Newman was shot and she went outside, according to the search warrant. Friend went after her and “forced” her into a vehicle. An unknown woman was driving the car, she told police.

Harris admitted to shooting Newman in the neck, the woman told police. Harris told her he saw Newman “take his last breath.”

The autopsy showed Newman “suffered at least one gunshot wound,” according to the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Another witness identified Friend as a participant in the robbery, according to a criminal complaint.

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

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