WATERLOO — The mother of a Waterloo burglary suspect came close to joining her son in jail after she began cursing at a judge following sentencing Monday.
Latasha Todd said she doesn’t think her son, 21-year-old Maliek Todd-Harris, received a fair trial when he was found guilty of second-degree burglary during a September trial. She also worries about treatment and care for stab wounds he received from the burglary incident.
On Monday, those concerns boiled over as Maliek Todd-Harris was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and his mother yelled at Judge George Stigler from the gallery.
“I hope something like this happens in your family,” Latasha Todd yelled, dropping the F word a number of times and triggering additional deputies being sent to the courtroom.
Stigler came close to finding the mother in contempt — at one point having deputies place her in handcuffs and telling her she would have to spend a day in jail — before she apologized and admitted she was out of control.
Her son’s sentencing came a week after the man who stabbed him, Durius Antwan Davis, pleaded to federal gun charges.
Maliek Todd-Harris’s case stems from a 2009 incident where Davis shot Todd-Harris’ cousin, Corvelous Caston, on Mulberry Street, seriously injuring him. Davis was sentenced to prison in the shooting and an unrelated liquor store robbery.
Davis was released from prison in December 2016, and Latasha Todd said her family was harassed and terrorized after that.
A Western Avenue home Caston was frequenting was the scene of gunfire twice the following month. Once, a passing car opened fire striking a parked vehicle outside house.
Another time, on Jan. 31, two bullets tore through the picture window and other rounds struck the siding while Caston was inside, according to police reports.
No one was injured in the second shooting, and police found .40-caliber shell casings. Witnesses reported seeing a Pontiac leaving the shooting scene and briefly parking at a Locust Street apartment building where someone ducked under a staircase. Officers went to the Locust Street address and found a Springfield XD pistol under the stairs.
Court records show in the days before the second shooting, police had intercepted phone and text conversations where Davis had discussed buying a .40-caliber XD, and officers had searched the Locust Street address where Davis had allegedly stayed and found .45-caliber ammo and an empty box for .40-caliber ammo.
Authorities allege months later, on April 17, Todd-Harris went to a West Mullan Avenue home and began chasing Davis.
Prosecutors claimed Todd-Harris was armed with a gun and attempted to shoot, but the weapon wouldn’t fire. Davis allegedly stabbed Todd-Harris during the incident. A jury would later discount the attempted shooting allegation and acquit Todd-Harris on a weapons charge, although jurors found him guilty of burglary.
During sentencing Monday, Stigler said Todd-Harris had attempted “self-help retribution” by going after Davis in the Mullan Street incident.
“You almost died because of some notion in your head you were going to get even,” Stigler said.
Assistant County Attorney James Katcher called Todd-Harris a danger who has a criminal history filled with violence. Court records show he had earlier been sent to prison in a 2011 shooting outside a nightclub that injured a 17-year-old.
Defense attorney Matthew Hoffey asked the court for probation, saying Todd-Harris had learned his lesson.
“This was a life-changing event for him. He was stabbed, and he didn’t know if he was going to make it,” Hoffey said.
But in imposing the 10-year sentence, Stigler said suspending the prison time would only send a message that what Todd-Harris did was right.
Davis was never charged in the stabbing, and it wasn’t until July he was indicted on federal firearm charges for possessing the .40-caliber Springfield XD and the ammo. He pleaded guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 13. Sentencing will be at a later date.