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Second man charged in Cedar Rapids slaying


This news story was published on December 23, 2011.
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Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

UPDATE: The second man accused of slaying Andre Herron,who was found dead on 7th Street SW in November, was charged with first-degree murder Friday in Linn County District Court.

Justin Ross, 18, of Cedar Rapids, was initially arrested and held as a material witness in the case. He made his initial appearance via video from the Linn County Jail. He was previously arrested on a material witness warrant two weeks ago in Waterloo.

Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Jane Spande set a $1 million cash only bond for Justin Ross. She also appointed the Johnson County Public Defender’s Office to represent him.

According to the criminal complaint, Justin Ross intentionally and with premeditation shot Herron with a .45 caliber revolver, causing his death.

Justin’s Ross’ cousin, Donovan Ross, 19, of Hiawatha, was also charged with first-degree murder in the crime earlier this month. He is accused of aiding and abetting or causing the slaying of Herron, 30, who was found in the street at 826 7th Street SW Nov. 26.

According to the criminal complaint, Donovan Ross shot a .22 caliber revolver at Herron with the intent to kill Herron. The shooting occurred shortly before another person, now identified as Justin Ross, acting with him, fired a .45 caliber revolver with the intent to kill or cause the death of Herron.

Multiple witnesses placed Donovan and Justin Ross at the scene when Herron was shot, according to the application for the warrant. The evidence also indicated Donovan and Justin Ross obtained a hotel room where he stayed with another suspect after the crime occurred.

A judge also set a $100,000 cash only bond for Donovan Ross.

Another material witness in the case, Alison Cunningham, 17, had a bond review Thursday, and a judge dropped the previously-set $1 million cash only bond and released her pending the Herron trial. Cunningham is four months pregnant and is living with her mother and grandparents, according to court records.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Nancy Baumgartner said the state presented no evidence that Cunningham wouldn’t testify at the trial or be available for court appearances.

Witnesses also placed Cunningham at the scene and said she witnessed the shooting of Herron, according to the application for the material witness warrant. She allegedly was with Donovan and Justin Ross at a hotel after the shooting took place.

Cunningham told police she was with Donovan and Justin, who were outside of a car and with Herron, when the shooting occurred, according to the application.

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