CEDAR RAPIDS — Another defendant was convicted Monday in a marijuana robbery that led to the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Cedar Rapids man in 2017.
Tyler M. Clemens, 24, of Alburnett, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime — charges related to the Feb. 1, 2017, drug deal that ended with Dylan Plotz’s death.
U.S. Magistrate Mark Roberts told Clemens he faces up to five years in prison on the distributing charge and a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life on the firearm charge.
As part of the plea agreement, which is sealed, Clemens waived certain appeal rights. At sentencing, a remaining charge will be dismissed and he will be ordered to pay restitution to Plotz’s family.
Five men, including Clemens, have been charged with robbery, drugs or gun charges, but according to testimony during previous hearings, authorities cannot determine who fired the 20-gauge shotgun that killed Plotz, a Jefferson High School graduate.
During previous hearings, investigators testified that Plotz, Dillon Beener, 21, and Kordell Jones, 19, both of Cedar Rapids, and a juvenile, who was driving but hasn’t been charged, traveled from Cedar Rapids to 20-year-old Chase Zerba’s home in rural Coggon where they planned to rob Zerba of a half-pound of marijuana.
Plotz was armed with a .40-caliber pistol, according to testimony.
Zerba asked friends Clemens and Cameron Klouda, 21, of Coggon, to come over in case something went wrong. Clemens and Zerba took a shotgun from the house, which Clemens loaded and carried to a minivan outside the house where they waited to make the drug deal, according to authorities. Klouda also was armed with a knife.
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After discussing the price of marijuana, Plotz, who was outside the van with Beener and Jones, pointed his gun at Zerba, authorities said. According to testimony, Zerba then yelled “Pull it up,” and Clemens raised the shotgun and discharged it.
When authorities arrived, they found Plotz dead with a shotgun wound to the face.
Despite testimony that Clemens fired the gun, authorities say they have not determined who pulled the trigger.
Klouda’s trial has been reset to Jan. 22.
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