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TMCNet:  Montez Caples found guilty of first-degree murder

[November 07, 2012]

Montez Caples found guilty of first-degree murder

Nov 07, 2012 (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- WATERLOO, Iowa -- A Black Hawk County jury has found a Waterloo man guilty in the December slaying of a Parkersburg resident.

Jurors convicted Montez Caples, 22, of first-degree murder in the death of Robert Shannon. Sentencing will be at a later date, and the mandatory punishment is life in prison without parole.

Shannon's parents, Bill and Sallijo Shannon of Ozark, Ark., consoled each other as the verdict was read. Sallijo covered her mouth and began to cry.

Caples showed little to no emotion. His wrists and ankles were restrained.

Prosecutors said Caples shot Shannon in the back of the neck while sitting in the back seat of Shannon's car Dec. 14. Shannon had been involved in a confrontation with Caples' roommate's uncle earlier in the day, prosecutors said.


The defense said the roommate had threatened to kill Caples if Caples didn't kill Shannon.

Trial started last week, and jurors began deliberating Tuesday afternoon. They reached a verdict at about 1:30 p.m. after a half day of deliberation.

As the Shannons left the courtroom, Bill shook the hand of Waterloo police investigator Brice Lippert. Sallijo gave him a hug.

Sallijo believes justice was served, and Caples got what he deserved. But both families will never be the same, she said.

"It closes some for us, but it doesn't help me any that Montez has wrecked his life, as well as took Bubba out of this world," said Sallijo, fighting back tears.

"There is a minor child going to be affected with this," she added, referring to Caples' young daughter. "There are so many other people affected. I get no satisfaction out of that at all. To me, that's a tragedy." Sallijo said she didn't allow other family members to attend the trial.

"I don't believe they need to go through this," she said. "They've been through enough." Shannon, known to by his family as Bobby or Uncle Bubba, was always a "mama's boy," according to Sallijo. He was a "loving, caring, family person." "It's affected my family a lot because he has nieces and nephews who worshiped him," she said.

Shannon had been living with his parents but moved in with his aunt in Parkersburg to look for work and be near his grandpa. He was born in the area and briefly attended school here.

The family later moved to an acreage in Aplington, where he went to kindergarten. Shannon graduated from Ozark.

Sallijo heard he was planning to start classes in January at Hawkeye Community College. The last time he visited his parents, Sallijo noted he had "grown up, finally." "Bobby had had some problems, and his thinking in life had changed so much," she said. "He had so much more respect for Bill and I. He's always been caring if you were a little child, or if you were older. He went out of his way to be. But when he came home, it was everybody. It wasn't just in those age groups. They took that away." Last year when a tornado ripped through Etna, Ark., a few miles from Ozark, Shannon came to help his dad and others repair damage.

Shannon's body was cremated. His remains were laid to rest with his grandma and sister at Garden of Memories on Thursday morning, according to Sallijo.

Earlier: Jurors deliberate in Montez Caples murder trial 9 a.m. -- 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.

___ (c)2012 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) Visit Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) at www.wcfcourier.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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