Public Safety

Jury selection starts for Cedar Rapids man charged in fatal shooting at Pointe apartments

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County jury selection started Monday afternoon for a Cedar Rapids man accused of fatally shooting a man and injuring a woman at The Pointe apartment complex last December.

Ezekiel C. Phillips, 30, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, going armed with intent and two counts of willful injury. He is accused of firing a “multitude of shots” at Tyrice Douglas, 27, which later killed him, and seriously injuring Mone Dotson, 19, on Dec. 19, 2018, at 1623 Parke Towne Ct. NE, a criminal complaint shows.

Phillips initially was charged with two counts of attempted murder, but one of those charges was amended to first-degree murder when Douglas died May 6.    

Last week, 6th Judicial District Judge Jason Besler said about 100 Linn County residents would be called as potential jurors in an attempt to get a more diverse population from across the county.

Besler ruled on motions Monday morning from the prosecution and defense, and jury selection didn't start until 1:30 p.m. The trial is expected to take four or five days.

Police said officers were called to another apartment in the complex about 3 a.m. Dec. 19, after Dotson was able to make her way to that apartment to get help.

The complaint shows other witnesses identified Phillips as the person who entered the apartment and fired multiple shots at Douglas and Dotson.

Phillips was arrested the next day at Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue SW during a traffic stop.

Douglas went home from the hospital after being treated for several gunshot wounds but months later returned with complications, according to the complaint. He later died from those injuries.

Prosecutors haven’t given further details on the shooting, including Phillips’ motive.   

Phillips has been in the Linn County Jail under $1 million cash-only bail since his arrest last December.

If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without parole. Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com