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Man accused of shooting anti-gun activist stands trial for murder

DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  Testimony started January 9, 2019, in a Davenport murder case. Deondra Thomas, 37, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jason Roberts.

Police responded to a call on June 9th, 2018,  just after 2 a.m., where they found Jason Blair Roberts suffering from life-threatening injuries. He had been shot three times.

He was then transported to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. His family said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Witnesses told police, Roberts was shot because he just trying to break up a fight involving Thomas. The fight was at "MVP's" Bar in Downtown Davenport.

"One witness heard Jason say to the defendant, 'Come on brother, we are just here for a good time'," Scott County Attorney Amy DeVine said. "For that this defendant gunned down Jason for no good reason."

Thomas' defense attorney, Jack Dusthimer, says Thomas wasn't the shooter, and there is not enough evidence to convict him.

"There is no weapon here," Dusthimer said. " There is no videotape as you were told. Mr. Robert's phone disappeared, somebody took it from the scene and hid it. It has never been recovered."

Related: QC anti-gun violence group steps up action in wake of founder’s shooting death

After opening statements, two Davenport police officers, who were at the scene, were called to the stand. The officers arrived to a critical scene and preformed emergency services on Roberts to save his life.

"I observed him not breathing." Davenport Police Officer Brandon Askew said. "We could see an obvious gunshot wound to his upper left chest, and then one to his left leg. It was obviously a critical situation."

"I did see a wound in his upper left thigh that was bleeding pretty heavily," Davenport Police Officer Dustin Garner said. "I retrieved my department issued tourniquet from my squad car and applied it."

Officer Askew said he got information from witnesses who helped describe the scene. He said those witnesses also said it appeared Thomas was in a red SUV speeding from the scene.

A crime scene investigator and more witnesses will testify January 10th, 2019.