Jury deliberations begin in Montez Caples murder trial
Nov 07, 2012 (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Jurors were slated to resume deliberations this morning in the case of Montez Caples of Waterloo, who is accused of killing a Parkersburg resident late last year.
During closing arguments, prosecutors reminded jurors Caples admitted to authorities that he shot Robert Shannon, 34, while they sat in a parked car Dec. 14.
"Without warning, without provocation and in broad daylight," Assistant County Attorney Brian Williams said.
Shannon that morning allegedly threatened the uncle of Caples' roommate, Diwayne Brown. Caples and Brown were in a "clique" referred to as the Goon Squad, and Caples saw an opportunity "to prove himself," Williams said.
"They were (like) brothers," County Attorney Thomas Ferguson added. "Part of the Goon Squad -- didn't like this person ... messing with family."
Caples, 22, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His trial started last week, and jurors began deliberating Tuesday afternoon.
Ferguson pieced together a time line using records of cell phone text messages and calls. Caples met Shannon hours earlier and struck up conversation at a liquor store on Broadway Street, and the two exchanged numbers. They communicated by phone several times and eventually met up, driving around in Shannon's car to find a place to smoke marijuana.
"Why would you take the gun " Ferguson asked. "Why would you want him to trust you "
Caples sent a text to Brown minutes before the slaying: "I'm about to get this (expletive) over with." Afterward, he asked a person to pray for him, according to the phone log.
Ferguson said Caples ultimately showed his true feelings when he told others, "I shot him in his fat neck."
Defense attorney Jill Eimemann argued Caples pulled the trigger because he was following orders from Brown and feared for his life.
"This is not a relationship of mutual respect and admiration but a relationship about fear, control and power," she said. "Without a doubt, Robert Shannon is dead because of Diwayne."
"They were not equals," Eimemann added. "Diwayne was in charge. When Diwayne says, 'Jump,' the best answer is, 'How high '"
She pointed to how Caples vomited following the shooting and cried and apologized, displaying "real emotion," when he was interviewed by an investigator.
Earlier in the day, Michele Catellier, an associate medical examiner with the state of Iowa, conducted an autopsy on Shannon's body Dec. 15, 2011. She testified the bullet entered through the back of his neck and exited through the left cheek of his face. She did not recover projectiles or fragments.
An imprint at the wound site is consistent with the pattern left by a gun, suggesting the muzzle was pressed firmly against the skin when discharged, according to Catellier.
Shannon may have remained alive for several minutes after being shot, she added. The loss of blood and a concussion likely contributed to his death.
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