CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man accused of murder admitted to police that he “intentionally” struck Scott Dexter, 38, in the head last month in downtown’s Greene Square, a criminal complaint released Tuesday shows,
The blow by Troy Lee Wilson, 47, left Dexter unconscious June 5 in a grassy area near the spiral sculpture entitled “Rollick” on the Third Avenue SE side of the park, the complaint shows. Dexter was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, but doctors found no sign of brain activity. He died shortly after being taken off life support June 9.
Wilson, arrested Monday, was charged Tuesday in Linn County District Court with second-degree murder. He appeared by video from jail during his initial appearance. Sixth Judicial District Associate Judge Nicholas Scott set a $1 million bail.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Ryan Decker had asked the judge for a $2 million bail, saying this was a “heartless and unprovoked attack” by Wilson. He also noted Wilson had some criminal history of burglaries.
The complaint shows that witnesses in the park told police that a man, later identified as Wilson, hit Dexter in the head without provocation. Wilson initially denied involvement but eventually admitted he intentionally struck Dexter in the head after hearing him argue with another person, according to the complaint.
The state medical examiner conduced an autopsy and ruled the death a homicide.
Dale Beeks, stepfather of Dexter, told The Gazette on Monday that he’s relieved police made an arrest but it “doesn’t give me much peace at all.” He is hoping that the incident will push city leaders to make safety improvements at the downtown park, which sits across from the downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library.
Beeks, of Mount Vernon, said Monday that based on conversations with police and a witness, a woman had been making accusations against Dexter. The situation escalated into an angry crowd “yelling and shouting.” Eventually he said his stepson was “hit once from a guy built like Mike Tyson.”
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This year there has been an increase in rowdy behavior and police calls at the park, which also is a place that regularly attracts downtown workers, children playing in the splash pad and a variety of ages playing Pokemon Go.
While city officials defend the overall safety of the park, they are considering some changes. Police have increased foot patrols and the City Council is discussing banning alcohol and smoking and adding security cameras.
If Wilson is convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison. He would have to serve 70 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole.
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