Trial for Iowa City pedestrian mall shooting to begin
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s new “stand your ground” law will be tested this week in the trial of a man charged in a fatal shooting at an Iowa City pedestrian mall.
Lamar Wilson, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and intimidation with a dangerous weapon in the Aug. 27 shooting that killed Kaleek Jones, 22, and injured two other men. Wilson has pleaded not guilty to all charges, the Des Moines Register reported .
Jury selection began Monday.
Iowa’s “stand your ground” law took effect in July. The law states law-abiding residents don’t have to retreat before using deadly force to defend themselves if they reasonably believe their life is in danger. Wilson’s case will be one of the first to test out the protections within the new legislation.
Wilson’s attorneys said the shooting was justified because Wilson was defending himself from gunfire. The defense argued that Wilson should receive immunity from prosecution.
Johnson County District Judge Paul Miller has said he will rule on immunity after the jury has heard the case.
Police said Wilson was carrying two guns when he was taken into custody. Police also said Wilson admitted to firing at a number of people. Wilson had a valid permit to carry firearms, according to police.
Prosecutors added criminal gang participation to Wilson’s charges. Wilson’s lawyers said gang activity testimony isn’t necessary to prove the other charges and may prejudice a jury against him. The charge will be decided in a separate trial.
Wilson’s trial is being held in Polk County instead of Johnson County due to extensive publicity.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com