Public Safety

Man convicted in a Cedar Rapids fatal shooting now is charged in Arkansas slaying

Fights extradition to Little Rock, demands governor's warrant

Jacovan Bush
Jacovan Bush

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former Fairfax man, who was convicted of lesser charges in a 2008 fatal shooting in Cedar Rapids, declined Monday to waive extradition to Arkansas, where he faces charges in a 2018 fatal shooting — only a year after being paroled in the Iowa case.

Jacovan D. Bush, 31, charged in Arkansas with capital murder and aggravated robbery, is demanding a governor’s warrant, which means the Arkansas governor will have to ask Gov. Kim Reynolds to extradite Bush to Little Rock. 

6th Judicial District Judge Mary Chicchelly ordered Bush to remain in jail without bail pending a governor’s warrant, which can take up to 90 days. The judge set another extradition hearing for Feb. 26.

Bush is accused of fatally shooting Devon Howard, 23, who was found lying on the floor of his apartment with a gunshot wound Feb. 15, 2018, in Little Rock, according to a Little Rock police report filed Feb. 16, 2018. First responders tried to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene. 

Witnesses told investigators that someone had knocked on Howard’s door. When he answered, two men forced their way inside and began struggling with him, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The witnesses scattered into separate rooms and heard a gunshot. When they returned to the living room, the men were gone and Howard was lying on the floor, police said.

Bush was captured Thursday on the Arkansas warrant in Cedar Rapids by the U.S. Marshals Service of the Northern District after they saw Bush leave a residence in the 1800 block of B Avenue NE, Deputy U.S. Marshal Nicholas Bonifazi said. Marshals, along with Cedar Rapids police officers, conducted a traffic stop after 2 p.m. in the 5100 block of First Avenue NE and arrested Bush without incident.

Officer Eric Barnes, a spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Bush had moved to Cedar Rapids shortly after the shooting. 

Bonifazi said the U.S. Marshals Service Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force began the hunt for Bush in early January after it identified a few of his associates. Working with marshals in Iowa, they found a possible address for Bush in the 1800 block of B Avenue NE.

Bush was sentenced to prison in 2010 for voluntary manslaughter, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and going armed with intent in the fatal shooting of Thomas Horvath, 19, on April 15, 2008. Horvath was shot in the abdomen and head. He died the next day.

Bush, who pleaded to amended charges after his first-degree murder conviction was overturned on appeal, became eligible for parole after serving four years in prison and was released on parole in February 2017. He completed his parole Aug. 28 of last year.

During the plea hearing in 2013, Bush admitted to shooting Horvath during a fist fight between his friends and Horvath’s friends in the Raintree Apartments' parking lot. The fight started over a busted car light. .

Bush, in the plea, admitted to bringing a gun and firing into the crowd. He threatened Horvath and said he intended for one of the shots to hit him.

Bush was convicted by a jury for first-degree murder in November 2008, but he was granted an appeal in 2012 and was granted a new trial based on inadmissible evidence. The prosecution called three witnesses at trial who identified Bush as the shooter in statements to police after the incident, but they recanted those statements before trial.

The plea was offered because the prosecution wouldn’t be allowed to call those witnesses at the retrial, which would hurt the case, Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said at the time. Vander Sanden discussed it with Horvath’s family and explained the risks of going to trial again.

A Iowa Court of Appeals ruling found Vander Sanden “orchestrated this series of events” to get evidence into testimony that otherwise wouldn’t have been allowed. Vander Sanden, who was first assistant attorney in 2008, said he was calling them only for impeachment purposes to prove Bush was the shooter. There was another witness who would identify Bush as the shooter.

The appeals court said Vander Sanden didn’t tell the jury he was calling the three as fact witnesses to complete the story of the crime. He said the three would identify Bush as the shooter.

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

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