Public Safety

Third suspect arrested in Tarrence Newman killing

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s been roughly 16 months since Cedar Rapids police officers found 40-year-old Tarrence Newman dead on his front porch in northeast Cedar Rapids. Since then, police have made two arrests, and on Sunday a third man was charged in connection with the killing.

Court documents show 31-year-old James Nathaniel Johnson of Cedar Rapids was arrested Sunday on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The criminal complaint states Johnson was tied to the killing using his DNA, which was allegedly found at the crime scene.

Two other men have also been charged in the slaying.

In July, nearly eight months after Newman’s death, 29-year-old Rayshaun D. Friend of Cedar Rapids was arrested, and about six months after that, Don Harris, 31, of Cedar Rapids was extradited from Chicago to Linn County and charged in Newman’s death. Friend and Harris each face charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and going armed with intent.

Both cases are currently making their way through the court system.

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According to the criminal complaint, Johnson went with Friend and Harris, who was armed with a handgun, to Newman’s home at 1506 D Avenue NE with the intent to rob him of drugs and money.

According to the criminal complaint, Harris shot Newman during the robbery.

According to a search warrant, a woman at Newman’s house the night of the shooting told police she was texting with Harris and Friend, who said they were coming over. The woman said she told the men not to come but they showed up with an unknown man — later identified as Johnson — and forced their way into Newman’s house.

The woman said she was in the kitchen doing dishes when Newman was shot and she went outside. That’s when Friend allegedly “forced” her into a vehicle that was driven by an unknown woman, according to a search warrant.

They picked up Harris and Johnson in the 1600 block of E Avenue NE, the woman said. The woman told police that Harris admitted to shooting Newman in the neck, according the warrant. Harris told her he saw Newman “take his last breath.”

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When police responded to the scene at about 9:45 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2017, they found Newman dead on the front porch. An autopsy showed Newman had “at least one gunshot wound,” police said.

Johnson made an initial appearance in Linn County District Court on Monday morning where a judge granted his request for a public defender and set a cash-only bond of $1 million.

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

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