Public Safety

Cedar Rapids murder suspect back in jail after repeatedly violating release terms

Jacqueline Holmes has posted bail twice since being charged in boyfriend's fatal stabbing

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A night of playing cards and drinking alcohol turned deadly for Tremaine Williams, 35, on March 4 after he was fatally stabbed at a friend’s house while others were sleeping.

A search warrant affidavit said three 911 calls were made. On the third call, Williams’ girlfriend, Jacqueline Holmes, then 36, spoke to a police dispatcher. She was crying and said her “fiance’s” chest wasn’t “rising.” The dispatcher tried to walk her through CPR, but she said she couldn’t because Williams had a laceration near his shoulder.

When officers arrived about 4:25 a.m. to Phillips Rogers’ house at 727 Eighth Ave. SW, no one answered the door, the affidavit said. Officers entered from the back door through the kitchen and to a bedroom. They saw droplets of blood on the kitchen table, blood on the cabinets and what appeared to be dried blood on a paper towel. Williams was found gravely wounded on the floor, partially blocking the door of the bedroom. Holmes was sitting over the “bloodied” body of Williams.

The affidavit said there were pools of blood on the floor and a blood-soaked towel in the room. Another man was sleeping on a bed in that same room.

Williams was taken to a hospital and died an hour later.

Court documents show the fatal stabbing happened after a card game. Witnesses told police Holmes becomes “belligerent” when she drinks in excess, although nothing unusual happened when the game broke up.

When interviewed by police, Holmes changed her story several times, according to a criminal complaint. She admitted to stabbing Williams and then recanted. She then said she wasn’t sure if he was stabbed or shot.

Holmes also said Williams assaulted her by punching and kicking her in the head, legs and neck, according to the affidavit. One of the investigators noticed a deep laceration on her left pinkie finger. Holmes told him she is left handed.

Holmes was charged with first-degree murder, and a judge set her bail at $750,000.

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She has previous convictions for child endangerment, drunken driving, operating a vehicle without consent, disorderly conduct, theft in Linn, Johnson and Jones counties, and public intoxication. She’s also had probation violations, and her pretrial release was revoked in the 2017 child endangerment case.

What has happened since

In June, Holmes had a bond review, and 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady lowered her bail by more than half a million to $25,000. He also allowed her to post a percentage of the bail — $2,500.

She posted bail June 9 and went to Rogers’ house, where she had been staying before the killing. But under the conditions of her release, she wasn’t supposed to be there.

Cedar Rapids police responded to the house twice, at 11:19 p.m. June 9 and 1:24 a.m. June 10.

Neighbors had made disturbance calls about people yelling and screaming outside Rogers’ home, according to court documents. The first time officers arrived, Holmes was intoxicated and arguing with another woman, and the second time Holmes was arguing with Rogers.

Police initially didn’t arrest Holmes and apparently didn’t know she was on pretrial release.

Eventually, however, she was arrested and charged with violating the conditions for her release — just one day after leaving jail.

According to Grady’s bond order, conditions of Holmes’ release included no drinking and no contact with any witnesses in the case, including Rogers.

Holmes also picked up a new charge. She was accused of attempting to take an eyebrow razor and cigarette lighters into jail when she was booked in.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier told The Gazette after the June bond hearing that he was shocked by the low bail. He said in his 10 years with the office, he had never seen bail reduced by thousands of dollars, and none of the prosecutors in the office had ever seen a judge lower bail to $25,000 for a murder charge.

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Grady, on the other hand, had noted the $750,000 cash-only bail was the “practical equivalent” of no bail at all.

After Holmes violated her pretrial release and was charged with possession of a weapon in a correctional facility, Grady increased her bail to $80,000 on both charges. He allowed her to again pay a percentage — $8,000 — with the court clerk.

Williams’ sister, Tabitha Lockhart of Illinois, told The Gazette after the hearing that her family was “completely devastated” that someone charged with first-degree murder had been given such a low bail.

“It’s hard to comprehend that he was murdered by someone he cared for,” she said, but added that the couple were not engaged, as Holmes initially told police. Lockhart described her brother as a “good person, a good brother and good son.”

Grady, in his June 25 order, required Holmes, if released, to be under the supervision of the 6th Judicial Department of Correctional Services and live at a residence preapproved by the department.

In July, Holmes’ lawyer helped post bail for her after BLCK Rising, a Chicago activist group involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, provided $4,781 for the bail. Her mother provided the remaining $3,219.

Holmes was approved to live at the Madge Phillips Shelter in Cedar Rapids and was required to be there from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. She also was required to wear a GPS bracelet.

About a month later, on Aug. 22, Holmes didn’t show up at the shelter by curfew. A presentencing investigator reviewed her GPS monitor and found she had gone several places that night and didn’t return until 10:09 a.m. the next day, according to a revocation report.

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On Aug. 26, Judge Jason Besler ordered Holmes remain in jail under a $105,000 cash-only bail pending trial.

Holmes remains in jail. Her first-degree murder trial has to be reset because the Iowa Supreme Court in mid-November postponed all jury trials until Feb. 1 due to the pandemic.

Holmes has filed for a change of venue, asking the court to move her trial out of Linn County because of pretrial publicity. A hearing hasn’t been set yet.

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

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