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Crime-and-courts
Police confirm found body is that of missing Waterloo woman; husband in custody

WATERLOO — A body found in a cemetery Friday has been identified as a missing Waterloo woman, but questions surrounding her death still remain.

Meanwhile, her husband has been detained in Minnesota on a parole violation warrant.

According to police, people scouring a remote area of Garden of Memories cemetery, 3669 Logan Ave., for shed deer antlers found the remains of Lakisha Quintel Williams around 3 p.m. Friday.

An autopsy conducted Monday at the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office facility in Ankeny confirmed the identity, although the cause of death hasn’t been determined, according to police.

Investigators said her death is considered suspicious, and officers remained at her home Monday.

Williams, 40, formerly known as Lakisha Owens, was last seen around 5 p.m. Jan. 20 near her Paige Drive apartment, and her mother reported her missing Thursday, police said. Her employer, Grainger, also called authorities when she didn’t show up for work.

Lakisha William’s husband, 27-year-old Fredrick Williams of Waterloo, was detained in Minnesota in recent days. Details weren’t immediately available, but he is being held on a fugitive from justice warrant at the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minn.

Court records show Fredrick Williams was released from prison in September 2016 after serving time for a 2014 mugging in Cedar Falls. In that case, another man approached two men outside a credit union and threatened them with a gun. The gunman fled with about $20 in cash and climbed into a car driven by Fredrick Williams.

Waterloo police stopped the getaway vehicle for speeding minutes later. Fredrick Williams pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of burglary and felon with a firearm as a habitual offender and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison with a three-year minimum, court records show.

Before that, Fredrick Williams was convicted of intimidation with a weapon, criminal gang participation and possession of an offensive weapon in a 2011 retaliation shooting involving a sawed-off shotgun. No one was injured in the shooting.


Crime-and-courts
Testimony begins in trial in 2016 fatal shooting

Brown

WATERLOO — The man behind the wheel in a 2016 drive-by shooting that killed a Waterloo man and injured two others told jurors he was forced to drive at gunpoint.

Jacques Dominique Williamson said his three passengers pointed guns at him; one in the backseat of his Chevrolet Tahoe pressed a gun to his head.

“I felt it … back center,” Williamson said Monday as the trial for Armand Rollins, Shavondes Martin and Doncorrion Spates got underway.

Spates, 17, Martin, 22, and Rollins, 18, are charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and intimidation with a weapon in the June 17, 2016, shooting outside 817 Logan Ave. that claimed the life of Otavious Brown, 21, and injured Dewon Campbell Jr. and Aundrey Roberts Jr.

Openings and testimony began Monday after Judge Brad Harris dismissed defense motions challenging the racial makeup of the jury.

Williamson, 26, of Waterloo, said in the hour leading up to the shooting he had been visiting an acquaintance at 520 Elm St., and when he left to go to a store Spates, Martin and Rollins asked to tag along.

They bought soda at Prime Mart on Broadway Street, and Williamson said he had a bottle of Hennessy cognac. He said they headed down Edwards Street, and he planned to return his passengers to Elm Street. But when they approached the T intersection with Logan Avenue, the passengers saw someone they had a beef with and told him to turn left, toward the group instead of right as he intended.

Photos: Logan Avenue murder trial

That’s when one of the backseat passenger pressed a gun to his head, and others pointed guns at him. He said wasn’t able to tell what type of guns were used, although one of the weapons had a laser sight.

After traveling a block or so north on Logan, Martin, the front seat passenger, fired out the driver’s window into a crowd of people, Williamson said.

“Mr. Martin shot once, and the rest of the shots came from the backseat,” Williamson said. “He shot from the passenger seat over me.”

He said his window was already down because the vehicle’s air conditioning wasn’t working.

Assistant County Attorney James Katcher said investigators found four spent .45-caliber shell casings at the scene and spent 10 mm shells wedged beside the seats and center console in Williamson’s Tahoe.

Defense attorneys said Williamson’s account isn’t believable.

“He is the state’s main witness that puts together what happened in front of 817 Logan. This is a case where you assess the credibility of witnesses,” said Melissa Anderson-Seeber, who is representing Rollins.

John Bishop, who is representing Spates, said Williamson also had been charged with murder but agreed to testify as part of a deal to receive lesser charges.

Defense attorney Cory Goldensoph, who is representing Martin, said a witness at the scene told police it was the driver who fired the first shot, not a passenger.

Moments after the shooting, Williamson attempted to cover his tracks by phoning police to report his Tahoe had been stolen and used in a shooting after he parked it at a Logan Avenue convenience store, Bishop said. When confronted by the fact the Logan Avenue store’s security camera didn’t show the theft, Williamson changed the location of the vehicle theft, Bishop said. He said it wasn’t until Williamson was arrested for murder that he came up with the account he had been forced to drive to the shooting.

The defense attorney also noted after the shooting, surveillance cameras show Williamson returned to Elm Street — where he originally met the people he said threatened him with guns.

Williamson told jurors he returned to tell Spates’ grandmother, Dorothy Spates, about the threats.

Testimony in the case is scheduled to continue today.


Govt-and-politics
Iowa considers expansive immigration enforcement bill

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa has jumped into the national debate over immigration with an expansive enforcement bill that would require local governments to comply with federal immigration agents or risk losing state funds.

The measure, scheduled for at least one vote this week in the Republican-controlled Legislature, would force law enforcement to hold a jailed person for possible deportation if requested by federal agents. The proposal has been framed as a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, a catch-all label for jurisdictions that limit local involvement in federal immigration enforcement.

Iowa has no sanctuary cities, though some communities have related guidelines.

Legal experts say holding people longer than normal could be unconstitutional, and the wide scope of the bill raises questions about local control.

“It’s without question that you’re going to get a legal challenge,” said Anna Law, a political science professor at City University of New York, Brooklyn College, who specializes in U.S. immigration and the Constitution.

That’s in part because while the federal government has authority to make and enforce federal immigration law, local governments also have some legal power to determine rights and privileges for immigrants once those individuals are in their jurisdictions.

The bill would prohibit policies that don’t allow local authorities to:

Question the immigration status of people under lawful detention or arrest.

Assist federal immigration agents with arrests.

Use any Iowa jail as part of federal agents’ work.

Local governments that intentionally violate provisions would be denied state funding.

The GOP-majority Senate passed the measure last session, and the two-year legislative calendar means it just needs votes in the Republican-led House if there are no changes. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has indicated support.

A House panel of two Republicans and one Democrat is scheduled today to review the legislation.

Sen. Julian Garrett, an Indianola Republican who wrote the bill, said the focus is on individuals in the country illegally who are accused of crimes. He argues the measure isn’t expansive.

“If you haven’t committed a crime, if you’re not getting arrested, this bill has no impact on you at all,” he said.

The bill describes lawful detention as someone suspected of a public offense, which excludes such minor offenses as moving traffic violations.

Madeline Cano, an organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a left-leaning group that lobbies on social and environmental policies, called that definition vague and said other provisions give broad power to federal immigration agents.

“It leads to a lot of interpretation,” she said. “That to me is very dangerous.”

The legislation comes amid a congressional debate over immigration policy that in part led to a shutdown of the federal government over the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the county illegally as children. President Donald Trump last week unveiled a plan that included a path to citizenship for such immigrants but also sought $25 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico and other steps, and called for sharp reductions in legal immigration.

Roughly 40,000 people in Iowa were in the country illegally in 2014, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Alexa Rodriguez, a community organizer in the Des Moines area, said the bill would make immigrants who are fearful of deportation less inclined to report crimes, which could hinder police investigations.

“If people are scared to come forward because they’re scared of local police, that puts all of us in danger,” she said.

The Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association and a host of groups representing local governments are registered against the legislation. The Iowa Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group against illegal immigration, is the only organization registered in support.

Rep. Steven Holt, a Denison Republican who will be on today’s panel, noted the legislation states a person reporting a crime, including a victim, would be exempt from immigration enforcement. He said the argument masks a bigger problem.

“As long as people are not here legally, and this system isn’t fixed, there’s going to be people who are always living in fear that they’re going to get deported,” he said. “This law, on the books or not, is not going to change that.”

Holt said he plans to add language to the bill that clearly ensures authorities don’t hold a jailed person beyond the period of time he or she would otherwise be detained. It’s unclear whether such a change to the bill, which also includes a section prohibiting discrimination, would protect the state from civil lawsuits.

A handful of states have enacted legislation in recent years to ban sanctuary cities, though with a range of enforcement provisions. A 2017 Texas law threatened jail time for officials who don’t follow federal immigration directives. The law is not fully in effect because of a lawsuit that could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Courts are also reviewing a Trump executive order to withhold money from sanctuary cities.

Rony Molina, a 17-year-old high school senior in Des Moines whose parents immigrated to the country, said his community is on high alert. He and others are responding by pushing for legislation and policies that help immigrants with their legal rights. Still, Molina worries the enforcement bill is already doing harm.

“Just the talk about the bill passing ... it encourages fear,” he said.


F. Williams


Lakisha Quintel Williams