Southwest CR


This morning I sat through the beginning of jury selection for the murder trial of Jacovan D. Bush, 19, of Fairfax. This young man is black, and from a family known around the area to get in trouble frequently with the law. But when I looked around the room at the 34+ potential jurors sitting in the courtroom, I saw a sea of white faces. Maybe there was an Asian guy in there, too. Heck, even Gazette editorial board staffer Beth DeBoom was sitting up there!

Granted, this is Iowa, and that’s probably what you’ll come up with when you select jurors at random. I’m sure people like the elderly retired lady and the Mercy Medical Center nurse are intelligent enough to consider the evidence and decide whether he shot Thomas Horvath twice on April 15 at the Raintree Apartments and later buried the gun. But it just looks awfully strange when the defendant stands out because of the color of his skin.

The selection process was supposed to last all day, not surprising because of the seriousness of the case. It’s always interesting to hear what kinds of questions the prosecution and defense lawyers ask potential jurors. Have you ever been a victim of crime? Have you ever served on a jury before? If so, when and what was the outcome? Do you have any other prejudices that you believe would disqualify you from serving on this jury? Well, it’s just good to know they’re trying to make it as fair as possible.

Salena Glover, 24, was fired Thursday night from her dancing job at Dancers Ranch after an argument, police said. She apparently returned later with a hammer to drive her point home and bashed out another dancer’s windshield.

Glover, of Cedar Rapids, is being charged with second-degree criminal mischief for the incident in the strip club’s parking lot at 3000 Sixth St. SW. The other dancer, Nicole Prevail, was not present when the bashing occurred, police said.

Too bad police didn’t write down their work aliases. Then you could probably check them out on the club’s Web site…the girls’ photos and schedules are included. Hmph.

Dancers Ranch has earned its reputation as the “dive joint” of Cedar Rapids’ night life (that reputation is backed up by online reviews, mind you — I wouldn’t know *rolls eyes*). Last September, a stripper nearly bit the end of another dancer’s finger off during an argument there. Just FYI.

I will always feel sick to my stomach when I run across search warrants served in sexual abuse cases. In all honesty, objectivity becomes moot I read about a little girl’s babysitter making her perform sexual acts before she can watch a children’s movie. And these warrants are sometimes a bit graphic. I remember one I read last year about a boy whose babysitter anally raped him nearly every day one summer and told him “That’s what friends do.”

Sick.

Such was the case in the arrest of Lester Cory, 47, of 226 Simpson St. SW. Cory allegedly babysat a 7-year-old girl who lived down the street several days and nights this summer. The abuse, which the girl said happened three times, was reported July 30.

Not only do these cases inflame public outrage against all sex offenders, they really highlight the near worthlessness of our current laws. The #1 fact of sexual abuse is that it almost always is done by someone close to the child — not some unknown, creepy guy who lives within 2,000 of a school or park. Cory wasn’t on any sex offender list, either, and he didn’t have a court record. Outside of her father making a more informed choice of temporary caregiver, was there any way this little girl could have been protected?

Perhaps our moral outrage should be directed in a different direction. But where do we turn when we cannot blame our government, our police — anyone — for not protecting us from this? Can we blame anyone?

Seems like the police are really paying attention to curfew violations lately.

Last week, when I wrote a story about people protecting their flooded property, cops had only written seven citations in total to people walking around in the flood zone after 8 p.m. — the curfew set in those areas until further notice. But when I looked at the arrest log today, I saw eight people were arrested on curfew violation charges from the early morning Tuesday to early this morning. Wow!

Three of them were kids between 18 and 20 years old who didn’t live near where they were found in the 1800 block of B Street SW. Two others were found near the intersection of 12th Avenue and Fourth Street SE. A 36-year-old man from Rock Island got a drug charge at the same time he was arrested in the 200 block of 12th Avenue SE. None of them had any reason but a bad one to be there. Police said if there had been proof they were stealing things, those charges would have been filed, too.

“We’ve warned people long enough,” said Cedar Rapids police Lt. Kenneth Washburn. Hopefully this effort cuts down on burglaries and vandalism in those areas, which are both still happening.

“The story is all wrong,” former FEMA housing inspector Vince Koley called yesterday to tell me. “Tom Kramer is not what he’s cracked up to be. He’s lying.”

Vince Koley

Koley, 74, is accused of hitting Kramer, a Penford Products employee, with a golf club during an argument last Thursday and trying to run him over with his vehicle. He takes the most umbrage at the police reporting he actually told Kramer “I don’t have to slow down, I’m with FEMA” during their confrontation at the 10th Avenue SW crosswalk outside the plant. “I never said that,” he said.

But the golf club, well, that happened. “He was coming toward me, not walking away,” Koley said.

Two messages he left me yesterday morning, though…interesting. “Ran into somebody, laugh for the day, he said to me ‘Are you that famous FEMA inspector? You should be on the David Letterman show.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t like David Letterman. I want to be on the Jay Leno show.’ You may not think that’s funny but that’s my type of humor.”

“Any way you could do an article on me like a Barbara Walters interview? … Listen, I had a thought. If we just put it on the Internet and not in the local paper, we can explain what really happened, like what really happened from the horse’s mouth, some catchy title we can put on. We can charge for each hit, to pay for some of the damages I’m suffering.” It’s true, Koley did lose his job over the incident.

I feel for the guy, but we’re not Dateline NBC. We couldn’t afford to pay people to talk to us if we wanted to. Yet they still talk.

Kramer hasn’t returned my phone messages yet.

(P.S. — This pic was snapped on the go by the Cedar Rapids PD. Since our jail is closed here, we haven’t had access to mug shots. How sad.)

Two flags, one Marine Corps and one American, flew from Don King III’s porch during the flood that claimed the basement and first floors of his home. Until the flood receded, King, a Marine who served during the Vietnam era, used the flags as a landmark to find his home at 820 Eighth Ave. SW. He saw them as a sign of defiance, of strength in adversity. The water rose only high enough to graze their seams, King said.

Late last week, King noticed his Marine Corps flag was missing.

“How low can people get?” he asked. “Of all things, they stole my damn flag. It’s only worth $20, but it meant a lot to me … There are some real cretins out there.”

But King, 53, didn’t let it dampen his resolve. He’s still cleaning up, currently knocking out the drywall in his home. And he bought a new flag to fly.

Cedar Rapids police reported a woman had her purse stolen from her cart as she was loading groceries into her car Monday afternoon at the Wilson Ave. Hy-Vee. A woman in the passenger side of a car driving by simply leaned out the window and snatched it as it was sitting there. She didn’t even get out! The victim, 45-year-old Lynnice Wedewer of Cedar Rapids, apparently tried to stop them by grabbing onto the open window, but the man in the driver’s seat just kept moving.

Yesterday, Wedewer left this comment our story about the semi that crashed on I-380 yesterday.

On Monday at Wilson Avenue SW Hy Vee my purse was robbed and I was assaulted in front of my 10 year old daughter with autism after buying food from the store. 2 middle aged 1 male African American & 1 white female bigger build short hair. I am making public notice I have closed down my checks and cards. Stores beware, do not accept any checks or chrage cards for Lynnice Wedewer, USHE Sanctuary, or James Hartgrave. Do not accept a paypal mastercard or US Bank card for same. They are now closed. On Tuesday they bought gas at Caseys and may have used these accounts unlawfully in many other places. Convenience stores are an easy target for this team as they do not have to show ID’s we are asking you to help us alert the community to quickly shut them down. My family are asking if you have any info please call the police if you see them. We are asking if they are any witnesses to please contact the police. You just never expect it to be your family. Thank you for your help in stopping them from abusing our accounts.
Dr Rev Lynnice Wedewer, Ph.D

I was curious to see who this woman was, so I Googled her. Turns out she claims to have the mark of the Benjamin Tribe on her hand. Check out her web site here if you’re curious about the significance of this claim. She also apparently runs an online store that sells software to help you “unleash the power of your mind.”

Wow.

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