Public Safety

First-degree murder charge added in Pointe apartment complex shooting

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man has been charged with first-degree murder in a shooting at the Pointe apartment complex in December because one of the victims died May 6.

Ezekiel C. Phillips Jr., 30, had been charged with attempted murder, willful injury and going armed with intent. He is accused of fatally shooting Tyrice Douglas, 27, and injuring Mone Dotson, 19, at 1623 Parke Towne Ct. NE on Dec. 19.

The shooting happened about 3 a.m. after the injured Dotson ran to another apartment in the complex seeking help. Witnesses identified Phillips as the person who entered the apartment and fired multiple shots at Douglas and Dotson, according to the criminal complaints.

Police said Phillips was arrested the next evening at Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue SW during a traffic stop.

Douglas died from the shooting injuries on May 6, the complaint shows.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden asked 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady in August to amend the trial information with the added first-degree murder charge, but Grady denied his request because, according to law, the murder charge is a “wholly new and different offense” from the other charges and requires the prosecution to prove that Douglas “willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation kill Douglas with malice aforethought.”

Vander Sanden then filed the murder charge separately last week and Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte, during a hearing Tuesday, asked the judge to combine the murder charge with the other charges for one trial.

Tyler Johnston, one of Phillips’ lawyer, didn’t oppose the request.

The trial set for later this month will be reset because of the new charge.

Phillips remains in custody at Linn County Jail and his bail was increased to $1 million cash only.

If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without parole.

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.