Cedar Rapids Man Takes Plea Deal in First-Degree Murder Case

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

Cedar Rapids police officers investigate a fatal shooting at Woody's Show Club Monday, April 16, 2012 in Cedar Rapids.(KCRG-TV9 photo)

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By Dave Franzman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- A 23-year-old Cedar Rapids man facing a first-degree murder trial in a 2012 murder case pleaded guilty to combined lesser charges on Friday.

Dominique Fisher, 23, was set to go on trial soon for the death of Raphael Blackwell, 22, in Cedar Rapids. Blackwell died from multiple gunshot wounds on April 16, 2012 in the parking lot of Woody’s Show Club, 9395 Sixth St. SW.

In court, Fisher charged his plea to guilty on three lesser charges -- attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury with a dangerous weapon and a violation of the state’s drug tax stamp act. The last charge was one Fisher faced before he was arrested in Blackwell's death.

He told the judge he shot Blackwell once in the parking lot and a second time as he turned and tried to run away.

The plea agreement required Fisher to serve sentences on the charges consecutively, or one after the other. That will mean a total prison sentence not to exceed 40 years. Because of some mandatory minimums, Fisher will probably spend 30 to 34 years behind bars, according to assistant Linn County Attorney Jason Burns.

Burns said he made the plea agreement because some witnesses in the murder case had changed their testimony, and he was concerned about the outcome of a trial.

Fisher will probably be in his mid-50’s before being eligible for parole, if he maintains a good record while behind bars. But he would escape the mandatory life-without-parole sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.
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