Public Safety

Judge sets bond at $50,000 cash for 18-year-old accused in Kennedy High School robbery

Jovon T. Ellis Jr. (Linn County jail photo)
Jovon T. Ellis Jr. (Linn County jail photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS ­— Before his court proceeding began Wednesday morning, Jovon T. Ellis Jr. sat at the table in the Linn County Jail video conference room, looked into the camera — the video of which was displayed on monitors in the district courtroom — and said, “I’m sorry mom.”

His mother, who was seated in the front row of the district courtroom gallery, shook her head, clicked her tongue and wiped a tear from her eye.

Ellis, 18, of Cedar Rapids, is accused of robbing an 18-year-old female student at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon in the south parking lot of Kennedy High School, 4545 Wenig Rd. NE.

He had his initial appearance Wednesday morning in Linn County District Court on a charge of second-degree robbery.

According to the criminal complaint, the 18-year-old student told police she was at her car just after 3:30 p.m., when a young black man confronted her, pushed her into the vehicle, pressed a handgun into her side and demanded her cellphone. The defendant then ran from the scene.

Police said they used school security footage to identify Ellis as the alleged robber.

Using the “lost phone feature” on the woman’s phone, police said they were able to trace the device to the 4400 block of White Pine Drive NE — the block in which Ellis lives.

Ellis was found at his residence, police said, and when questioned, he allegedly admitted to the robbery.

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Investigators also obtained a warrant to search the residence where they found the woman’s phone and a Daisy CO2 pistol, according to the criminal complaint.

Ellis already has two pending cases for previous offenses, court records show ­— one for assault causing bodily injury and another for second-degree robbery and extortion.

In court Wednesday, Ellis was visibly emotional as he sat in the video conference room. While the prosecuting attorney read the criminal complaint, he sat quietly, looking down at his lap, occasionally wiping his eyes.

The presiding judge appointed the public defender’s office to represent Ellis and set bond at $50,000 cash only. Visibly shocked by the bond amount, Ellis lightly pounded the table in front of him with his fists then dropped his head into his hands.

Second-degree robbery is a Class C felony. If convicted, Ellis could face up to 10 years in prison.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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