State asks to combine murder and attempted murder trials

2012-12-04T12:45:00Z 2013-02-13T11:24:30Z State asks to combine murder and attempted murder trialsBy JEFF REINITZ, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Authorities want to combine trials for a Waterloo man accused of shooting his ex-fiance and killing her mother.

Kevin Deshay Ambrose, 34, is scheduled to go to trial on murder and attempted murder charges in January in the May 2 slaying of Kay Straw, 59, and the shooting of Marlene Buss, 33.

A separate trial, this one alleging Ambrose unlawfully possessed a firearm at the time of the shooting because of a prior felony conviction, is also scheduled for January.

Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said the facts and circumstances in both trials are the same, and the witnesses are the same. She asked the court to consolidate the two cases as a matter of judicial economy during a Monday hearing.

But defense attorney Melissa Anderson-Seeber said the move would result in unfair prejudice because jurors will know Ambrose has a prior felony as they consider the murder charge.

"This, unfortunately, will be imprinted on their brains," Anderson-Seeber said.

She said the state used the firearm charge to detain Ambrose following the shooting and gained time to investigate the homicide without starting the procedural clock murder charges.

Ambrose was arrested May 3 on the gun charge, and authorities didn't file the murder and attempted charges until June 6.

Judge Todd Geer will rule on the matter at a later date.

Authorities said Buss had filed a restraining order against Ambrose on May 2, and he later found her at the home where they lived. He allegedly attempted to shoot a man at the house, Undray Reed, but the gun failed to fire.

Ambrose then chased Buss out of the house, shooting her, and re-entered the house to shoot Straw, police said.

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