Public Safety

C.R. man charged with murder picks up new drug charges

He was on pretrial release and had 8 violations while free

Rayshaun Friend
Rayshaun Friend

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man charged in the robbery and fatal shooting of a man in 2017 has picked up new drug charges after police discovered he was hiding marijuana, anti-anxiety pills and heroin mixed with fentanyl in his underwear.

Rayshaun D. Friend, 30, of Cedar Rapids, was charged Thursday in Linn County District Court with two counts of possession of a controlled substance — heroin and marijuana — and unlawful possession of a prescription drug — alprazolam — without a prescription, both serious misdemeanors.

Friend previously was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and going armed with intent, in the shooting of Tarrance Newman on Nov. 12, 2017.

Bail revoked

Friend initially was in the Linn County Jail after his arrest in July 2018 under a $2 million bail. During a bond review, 6th Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns lowered bail to $1 million. Two months later, after Friend’s public defender asked for another bond review, Bruns removed the bail and gave Friend pretrial release under the supervision of the district’s probation department.

According to probation’s report, this wasn’t Friend’s first violation while on release. He started racking up violations a month after he was released. He had eight violations for admitting to using marijuana and tested positive for marijuana five times.

On Sept. 17, Friend was arrested during a traffic stop in Cedar Rapids, according to a pretrial report and criminal complaint. He was a passenger in the vehicle and consented to a search.

At the police department, officers found a “compartment” in Friend’s underwear that contained four bags of marijuana, cellophane wrapped around a solid chunk of heroin and fentanyl, which was tested, six anti-anxiety pills and the remains of a marijuana joint, the report shows.

Bail reinstated after arrest

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier asked the court to revoke Friends’ pretrial release and place him under bail again.

Bruns revoked his pretrial release and ordered a $100,000 cash-only bail.

Friend was returned to jail, according to jail records.

Newman’s body was found Nov. 12, 2017, on the porch of his home at 1506 D Ave. NE. He was fatally shot, but nobody was charged in his death until Friend on July 18, 2018. Friend is accused of making plans with two other men to go to Newman’s home to “steal money and drugs,” according to a criminal complaint.

Second man charged

According to the complaint, a handgun was used in the fatal shooting and one of the other man, Donald R. Harris, 31, of Cedar Rapids, may have been the shooter.

Harris was arrested and charged in January with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and going armed with intent, a complaint shows. He was extradited to Cedar Rapids from Chicago.

A search warrant showed the two went to steal money and drugs from Newman, and Harris shot him during the robbery. Harris’ DNA was found at the scene, and a witness identified him as the shooter.

Accounts from witnesses

A woman who was at Newman’s house that night told police that after she texted with Harris and Friend, they came to the house and forced their way inside, according to a warrant.

The woman said she was in the kitchen doing dishes when Newman was shot and she went outside. Friend came after her and “forced” her into a vehicle. An unknown woman was driving the car, she told police. Harris admitted to shooting Newman in the neck, and watching him “take his last breath, the woman told police.

Another witness identified Friend as taking part in the robbery, according to a complaint.

Harris’ case was temporarily on hold while he underwent a mental evaluation to determine competency, but Bruns found him competent to stand trial in June. His trial is set for Nov. 4.

Third man charged

In March, the third man, James N. Johnson, 31, of Cedar Rapids, was charged after his DNA found at the crime scene, a complaint showed. He was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Bruns just gave Johnson pretrial release last week. He now is under supervision without bail. His trial is set for Jan. 21.

Friend’s trial remains set for Feb. 3. His initial appearance on the drug charges will be Wednesday.

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.