WATERLOO — After two weeks of testimony and a full day of closing arguments, it took jurors only about 90 minutes to acquit Perquondis Holmes of murder charges in the November 2013 shooting death of 18-year-old Dae’Quan Campbell.
Holmes’ friends and family erupted with applause and cheers upon hearing the verdict Wednesday morning. Holmes embraced defense attorney Robert Montgomery and then collapsed to the floor.
As Holmes was helped to his feet, Campbell’s relatives began to protest. People in the audience held back one man, and Campbell’s sister stood on the benches.
“You know you killed my brother, and you killed my mother, too,” said the sister. Campbell’s 39-year-old mother died in April of natural causes.
Sheriff’s deputies stepped between the defense table and the gallery and directed the sister off of the benches. Someone yelled “murderer” as the crowd filed out of the courtroom. Another family member who remained inside sat down and began to sob.
Holmes was accused of shooting at a Toyota Camry that had followed a friend’s Mustang to the parking lot behind a Langley Road apartment building on Nov. 14, 2013. Campbell, who was driving the Camry, died of gunshot wounds, and Holmes disappeared from the area only to be found a month later living with relatives in Lincoln, Neb.
Montgomery argued the shooter was really the Mustang driver, who acted in self defense when the Camry drove at him. The defense also attacked the credibility of the two passengers in the Camry, who knew Holmes and had identified him as the assailant, and questioned the adequacy of the police investigation.
Despite the not-guilty verdict in the murder trial, Holmes remains at the Black Hawk County Jail on related offenses.
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When he was arrested on the murder charge, Holmes was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm — for allegedly handling a gun during the shooting — and flight to avoid prosecution for leaving for Nebraska following the shooting.
Before trial, the defense successfully severed the other charges. Holmes entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt but contending he could be convicted if the charge went to trial — to the flight charge before trial began, according to Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams.
He also waived a jury trial on the firearm charge, allowing the judge who presided over the murder trial to render a verdict on that charge.
That firearm verdict remains pending, and Holmes is being held pending sentencing on the flight charge. Both charges are punishable up to five years in prison upon conviction.
Judge David Staudt ordered a bond of $100,000 for Holmes.
Holmes had been found guilty of first-degree murder in Campbell’s death following a 2015 jury trial, but he won a reversal in February because a Facebook photo shown during the first trial allegedly showed gang affiliation.
This is the second time Montgomery has prevailed in a murder case in Black Hawk County. In 2001, he represented Michael Bruce, who was found not guilty in a fatal shooting at Wildside Creationz auto shop. He again successfully represented Bruce in 2006 when the federal government brought drug and weapons charges connected to the Wildside shooting.