Public Safety

Judge drops bail amount more than half a million dollars for Cedar Rapids woman charged with first-degree murder

Bail went from $750,000 to $25,000

CEDAR RAPIDS — A 36-year-old woman, charged with fatally stabbing her fiancé, is out of jail pending trial after a judge lowered her bail from $750,000 to $25,000.

Jacqueline Holmes is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Tremaine Williams, 35, on March 4. She bailed out at 10 percent of her new bail amount — $2,500 — with a court clerk Tuesday, as allowed, according to an order filed by 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady.

Holmes must be under supervision of 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and cannot leave the state, if bail is posted, Grady said in the order filed last week.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier, during a May 22 hearing, asked the judge to leave the bail at $750,000 based on the nature of the crime and because Holmes faces a potential life sentence.

Holmes’ lawyer, during the hearing, noted her previous convictions were not serious and she has ties to the Cedar Rapids area, according to the ruling. She also has been “generally reliable” in the past to appear for court.

In his ruling, Grady said Holmes has lived off and on in Cedar Rapids, but her closest ties are in Chicago. He admits to finding probable cause that Holmes committed the crime when she was charged, but he added that a $750,000 cash-only bail was the “practical equivalent” of no bail at all.

Schier said he was “shocked” by the low bail. In his 10 years with office, he has never seen bail reduced 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, he added.

Schier said Williams’ family was “upset and concerned about receiving justice.” They are worried about what might happen because Holmes is out of jail.

The bail schedule set by the Iowa Supreme Court recommends bail for Class B felonies start at $25,000, and usually that amount is for offenses much less serious than murder.

Judges do have discretion on bail. But in recent first-degree murder cases, bail is typically set at $1 million or more.

The fatal stabbing happened after Holmes had been playing cards and drinking alcohol with Phillip Rogers and others at his home in the 700 block of Eighth Avenue SW, according to the ruling. Police arrived about 4:25 a.m. and found Holmes sitting over the “bloodied” body of Williams, who was taken to the hospital and died an hour later.

Witnesses told police Holmes becomes “belligerent” when she drinks in excess, although nothing unusual happened when the card game broke up, the ruling states.

A search warrant affidavit showed three 911 calls were made, and on the third call Holmes spoke with a 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 do it because Williams had a laceration near his shoulder.

When officers arrived, they didn’t get a response, according to the affidavit. They finally entered from a back door. Williams’ body was on the floor partially blocking the door, and Holmes was partially on top of him.

When interviewed by police, Holmes changed her story several times. 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.

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Holmes has numerous previous convictions for child endangerment, drunken driving, operate vehicle without consent, disorderly conduct, theft in Linn, Johnson and Jones counties, and public intoxication, according court records. She also had probation violations, and her pretrial release was revoked in the 2017 child endangerment case.

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

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