Public Safety

Judge denies lowering $1 million bail for 17-year-old charged with killing Malik Sheets last summer

Marshawn Jeffries accused of firing 'point blank' at Sheets

Malik Sheets
Malik Sheets

CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge Friday denied lowering a $1 million bail for the 17-year-old accused of killing Malik Sheets last summer, noting the seriousness of the crime and that the teen poses a “significant threat” to the community.

Marshawn L. Jeffries is charged with first-degree murder and obstruction of prosecution. He and Christian Emedi, 17, both of Cedar Rapids, are accused of fatally shooting Sheets, 20, during a party June 18. Jeffries was 16 at the time but turned 17 in October.

Sarah Hradek, the attorney for Jeffries, asked 6th Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill to lower her client’s $1 million bail because it amounts to holding him in jail since his family can’t post the bond.

She also said his custody in the Benton County Jail hinders trial preparations because the coronavirus restrictions limit in-person visits.

If released, Hradek said Jeffries could wear a GPS monitor and be released to the supervision of the 6th Judicial District Correctional Services. He would live with his parents, as he did before arrest.

Hradek also asked for a $10,000 cash-only bail be lowered in his separate case for a serious assault.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks, in arguing against lowering bail, pointed to Jeffries’ back-to-back violent offenses last summer.

He was first charged with willful injury causing bodily injury in the June 17 assault of Kavon Johnson. Emedi also was charged in that incident.

In Sheets’ death, Maybanks said, Jeffries fired at “point-blank range” while Sheets was on the floor after being shot by Emedi.

Jeffries going back to live with his parents, he said, wouldn’t provide safety to the community because that was the “environment” where Jeffries was living when the two violent incidents happened, the prosecutor said.

Maybanks also went over Jeffries’ juvenile record, starting in 2015, which included an assault, drugs in 2017 and carrying weapons in 2019.

Jeffries’ next court appearance will be a March 5 hearing asking that his case be sent back to juvenile court because of his age.

Cedar Rapids police, after responding to a report of shots fired around 5 a.m. June 18 at 1058 Regent Ave. NE, found Sheets, a University of Iowa student, badly injured inside the house, where a large party had been held earlier. Sheets died from gunshot wounds to his neck and chest.

Investigators learned from witnesses that Sheets and several others were arguing when two people — identified as Emedi and Jeffries — shot him, according to the criminal complaint.

Based on witness statements, investigators determined Emedi fired several shots at Sheets and, after Sheets fell to the floor, Jeffries fired more shots at him, the complaint stated.

Jeffries’ trial is set for May 17 in Linn County District Court.

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