CEDAR RAPIDS — Jerome Power took the stand Friday in his first-degree murder trial and contradicted most of the details he gave police on Sept. 19, 2010, the night his neighbor was strangled to death.
Power testified he was mistaken that a former resident of his apartment building, Terry Wilson, assaulted and killed Doris Bevins. Power maintained his innocence, however, saying a different man killed Bevins.
Wilson had earlier Friday testified that he did not kill Bevins. Wilson said he had known her for more than 10 years and considered her a friend, but he didn’t see her the day she died.
Police also testified they never considered Wilson or the other man Power accused as suspects in the case.
Power testified Friday he was “amped” up the day of the killing because he had just gotten a new job. He said he celebrated with friends, watched movies at home and filled up Bevins’ air mattress in the afternoon.
Later that night about 10 p.m., Power said he grabbed his textbook and was sitting outside on the stairs of his apartment when he saw Bevins. He said she asked him to put more air in her mattress. He said he went down to Bevins’ apartment about 11 p.m. and saw Wilson nearby. Then, he testified he saw another black man coming around the corner from Bevins’ with a Styrofoam plate.
Power said he then knocked on Bevins’ door but she didn’t answer, so he just walked in. Out of habit, he testified, he shut the door and locked it. He said he looked for the air pump that was kept behind the door but it wasn’t there, so he walked to the back of the apartment and heard “banging.” Then, he said, he saw Bevins lying on the floor.
He said he heard police and hollered “Wait, wait” trying to get to the door. Then, police broke a window and rushed in, without letting him explain what happened, he said. They immediately put him in a “choke hold,” cuffed him and took him to the ground, he said.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden, on cross examination, asked Power if everything he said was the truth.
Power said it was.
Vander Sanden then asked if everything had been true in the police interview.
“Yes and no,” Power said. “I misjudged Wilson and I apologized to him for that. I got the times wrong.”
Power also admitted to lying in the police interview about performing CPR. He said he wanted to be able to revive Bevins but couldn’t because he didn’t know how to perform CPR. He said he also did not call 911, although he told police he had.
The defense rested after Power’s testimony. Closing arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday and the jury may start deliberations late that morning.