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Witness Testifies Tajh Ross Fired Gun That Killed Latasha Roundtree

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Adrian Kenney said after hearing the first shot, he ran across the street but he looked back and saw Tajh Ross shooting.

“I heard two louder shots — boom, boom,” Kenney testified Thursday. “I saw (Tajh Ross) him firing (at the car).”

Kenney said Ross fired a .40 caliber handgun at the car Latasha Roundtree, 19, was a passenger in and later died Sept. 22, 2012.

Ross, 20, is charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of shooting and killing Roundtree as she and her friends were coming to the party where Ross was that night.

Ross also faces charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and going armed with intent. He is accused of firing the gun that killed Roundtree, according to a criminal complaint.

The prosecution continues its case 1 p.m. Friday in Linn County District Court. There will be some delays in the trial to allow the defense to take further depositions. The trial is expected to last all next week.

Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey continues her live coverage from the courtroom. Follow her live blog at Followers can provide comments and ask questions during the trial.

Kenney, 24, formerly of Cedar Rapids who now lives in Arizona, said Ross mentioned that something was “going down” during a party at Jeremiah Ellis’ but he didn’t think it involved him and initially didn’t take it seriously.

His attitude changed when his friend Yasin Muhidin popped open the car trunk and Ross took out a .40 caliber handgun and Liban Muhidin had an AK-47. When a white car went by twice and slowed down Ellis took the first shot with a silver revolver he pulled out. Then Ross fired more than once, he said.

Kenney said at this point, he ran and got in Yasin’s car, parked in an alley behind the party house. Yasin soon came and they drove down the alley. Freddy Hanson, Ellis’ brother, then jumped in.

Kenney then saw the white car go by and the window was broken. Hanson told Yasin to follow the car but Yasin refused. Yasin then dropped off Hanson.

Yasin got a phone call and then picked up Liban, Ross and Ellis at the Wal-Mart parking lot, Kenney said.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks asked what Ross later told Kenney about the night.

“He told me he may have killed someone,” Kenney said.

Kenney admitted he pleaded guilty to perjury and accessory after the fact for his role in Roundtree’s death and agreed to testify at this trial.

Liban and Yasin Muhidin and Jeremiah Ellis have also pleaded guilty to lesser charges in this case.

Kenney admitted he first lied to investigators and the county attorney about what happened that night because he didn’t want anything to happen to his family, he said.

Kenney said he told the truth in the final interview and he was giving truthful testimony Thursday.

Todd Weimer, Ross’ attorney on cross, asked if he remembered talking to police Feb. 21, 2013 when he was on probation for theft charges.

“You didn’t tell the truth and denied even being at the party,” Weimer said.

Kenney said “Yes, Sir.”

Weimer said Kenney didn’t tell police more details until after being charged in this case and receiving the plea agreement.

“Yes,” Kenney said.

In other testimony, Division of Criminal Investigation Criminalist Victor Murillo testified about the .40 caliber gun and spent cartridges recovered from the crime scene and a bullet recovered from Roundtree’s skull.

Murillo said the bullet from Roundtree’s skull and the cartridges were “positively” fired from the .40 caliber gun he examined.

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