CEDAR RAPIDS — A man accused of killing a mother of three in her garage and setting it on fire to cover up the crime will plead guilty to first-degree murder next month, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Timothy Evans, 38, of Cedar Rapids, will plead and be sentenced Dec. 7 in Linn County District Court, according to judge’s order filed Tuesday.
Evans was originally charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree arson. He faces life in prison without parole on the murder charge.
In what police called a “random act,” Evans is accused of breaking into a southwest Cedar Rapids home’s detached garage and killing homeowner Gina Frederiksen, 38, on April 29.
Police have never said if Evans broke into the garage before Frederiksen was inside or if she came in after he was already in the process of the burglary.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said Wednesday he couldn’t provide more details of the crime before the hearing.
On April 29, Frederiksen’s neighbors called 911 after hearing an explosion around 7:30 a.m. Frederiksen was pulled from the garage by Cedar Rapids police officer Kevin Lukan and given emergency medical care but died a short time later at the hospital, police said.
Two witnesses later told police that Evans described to them, moments after it happened, how he killed Frederiksen and set the fire in an attempt to cover up the crime, according to a criminal complaint.
Two days before Frederiksen’s death, 6th Judicial District Associate Judge Russell Keast released Evans on his own recognizance pending trial on an April 15 burglary charge involving a vehicle.
Evans is also charged in connection with an attempted burglary hours before Frederiksen’s death when police say he allegedly tried to enter a home just south of Fredriksen’s home.
That homeowner, Shelly Matthess, told The Gazette after the incident that she saw Evans on her video security system trying to get into her house. He left when he couldn’t get in, she said, and she drove around the neighborhood searching for him but did not find him.
In another incident, Evans was charged with second-degree burglary and second-degree arson of a houseboat last year. He is accused of breaking into the home in the 2400 block of Houseboat Court NW on Nov. 5, 2017, and taking items from the houseboat before starting a fire with an “explosive or incendiary device or dangerous weapon,” according to the criminal complaint.
A cigarette butt found in the houseboat’s kitchen was analyzed, and the DNA matched Evans, according to the complaint. Evans was interviewed about the burglary and couldn’t explain why he would be on the houseboat.
Evans, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, has been in the Linn County Jail since May 1 under a $2 million bond.
Since Evans’ arrest, police have been looking into similar burglaries for any possible connection.
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