The jury that must decide whether Deondra Thomas murdered Jason Roberts heard from attorneys on both sides of the case on Wednesday as well as the first of the witnesses.
Thomas, 37, of Davenport, is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by a felon in connection with the shooting of Roberts, 46, of Davenport, according to authorities. The shooting happened about 2 a.m. June 9 in the 800 block of West 4th Street in Davenport.
"A good man (was) gunned down for no good reason," Amy DeVine, first assistant county attorney, said in her opening arguments.
She told the jury the evidence indicated Thomas became involved in a quarrel while at a sports bar, and Roberts intervened, attempting to calm things down. She said Thomas shot Roberts three times then left the area as a passenger in a maroon SUV. She said Thomas admitted to one person that he shot Roberts. Another person, who knows Thomas, witnessed the shooting.
Jack Dusthimer, Thomas' defense attorney, questioned how believable accounts from witnesses that night actually are, saying there are multiple descriptions of where the shooter was, where Thomas was, who was arguing and how severe that argument was.
No weapon was recovered, he said. Neither was Roberts' cell phone.
The jurors also heard from several witnesses: Davenport police officers who dealt with the case immediately after the shooting occurred and with members of Roberts' family who described him and what he was doing earlier during the evening of June 8. Their testimony included accounts and answers prompted by DeVine, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton, who is trying the case with her, and Dusthimer while the witnesses were on the stand.
Officer Brandon Askew told the jurors he and a partner were on patrol around 2 a.m. June 9, driving northbound on Warren Street between 3rd and 4th streets when a maroon SUV entered the roadway from an alley on the east side, forcing them to brake.
That part of Warren is on the west end of the same block where the shooting took place.
Askew testified he believes the SUV then went south and the two officers stopped a third vehicle immediately after because they identified the occupant as having an outstanding warrant.
Askew said that after they made that arrest, he heard a disturbance and learned from bystanders there had been a shooting. The two officers were unaware of the attack until then. They did not hear the shots.
He testified he ran down the street while his partner stayed with the squad and the person they arrested. Askew found the wounded Roberts. Askew began administering CPR.
Not long after, Roberts was taken to the hospital.
While on scene, Askew was told by people there that the shooter was a black male in a black-and-gray checked coat and black pants who left in a maroon SUV and Askew told the jury he realized he saw that vehicle moments before.
The squad's emergency lights, which trigger the dash cameras in Davenport police vehicles, were not on at the time of the encounter with the SUV, so the dash camera did not record the interaction.
Another officer, Dustin Garner, testified Wednesday that he applied a tourniquet to Roberts' leg, which was injured, and later went to the hospital with Roberts, and was present at the hospital when he was pronounced dead.
Roberts' family members who testified were his ex-wife, Yolanda Roberts, and her daughter, Kashé Robinson.
Though divorced, the two saw each other frequently, Yolanda Roberts testified. She described them as still sort of being married.
Roberts was caring, humble and funny, she said. He would do anything for anybody.
"He would be the person that I would call," she said.
She said he spent time at her house after work on June 8, visiting until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and he was his normal self, telling jokes. He did not consume any alcohol during the visit.
Robinson testified that she called Jason Roberts her bonus dad.
Robinson, her sister, Déja, and Jason Roberts went out and watched basketball on television that evening. There were a few beers, but she did not believe Roberts was intoxicated.
About 11:30 p.m., he got a call and asked if she and Déja wanted to get something to eat with him, Robinson said. The sisters decided to go home, and he said he was going to think about whether he was going to go.
When the trial stopped for the day, the jury was reviewing pictures of the crime scene, which was the parking lot of the bar. The photographs included a number of images depicting three shell casings collected there.
Presentation of that evidence is expected to continue Thursday morning. The trial is expected to last nine days.