A teenager has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in a fatal Cedar Rapids and Marion shooting
CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge on Tuesday told a 19-year-old he “got a prison sentence” of 25 years for driving drunk, crashing into a sport utility vehicle and unintentionally causing the death of a 77-year-old Cedar Rapids woman. A Marion woman was seriously injured last year.
Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Jason Bessler told Zawadi Christof that he considered imposing consecutive sentences, which would have lasted 50 years, because of the harm and pain he caused to the family of Judy Hoover, who was a passenger and died in the crash, and to the driver, Joan Soyinka, 73. , of Marion, who continues to suffer from medical issues since the October 24, 2022 incident.
However, Bessler decided to accept the plea agreement and sentenced Christoph to 25 years in prison. He served the sentences for vehicular homicide – operating while intoxicated; Serious motor vehicle injury – OWI; and a serious injury — reckless driving — concurrent with the 25-year-old Christophe faced in a separate shooting case.
In this case, the teen had previously pleaded to an Alford plea for intentional intimidation with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, and willful arming in an incident that occurred on July 24, 2022. An Alford plea is when a defendant maintains his innocence but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove guilt.
The reason for the plea agreement and concurrent sentences was because Christof was 18 at the time, Assistant Linn County Prosecutor Rena Schulte said during the sentencing. But it also noted that the teenager’s “unreasonable actions” claimed Hoover’s life and left Soyinka seriously injured. Soyinka remained at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for seven weeks and still has problems with short-term memory.
In the shooting incident, Christophe could have easily killed “several people” — a “miracle” no one did, Schulte said.
Patrick McMullen, Kristof’s attorney, asked the court to follow the plea agreement and noted that he saw Kristof mature while in prison last year, which he said was “rare” in his experience. He said Christophe wanted to come out of prison a “better man.”
During the sentencing, Kristof told the Hoover and Svenka families, who were in the courtroom, that he took “full responsibility” for his actions and apologized. He said he had never hurt anyone before and would not have driven that day if he could do it again.
The victims in court refused to make statements about the impact.
Christophe was also ordered to pay $150,000 to Hoover’s heirs and $500 in restitution to Darren Dohlman, the other driver who was hit by Soyinka’s car during the accident.
His driving license will also be revoked for six years.
In the crash, Christophe, who was driving a Dodge Journey in the 800 block of 1st Avenue W in Cedar Rapids, was struck from behind by a BMW SUV, driven by Soyinka with Hoover as a passenger. The crash caused the BMW to swerve into oncoming traffic, striking a Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by Dolman, according to the criminal complaint.
Matt Hoover. Soyinka suffered several serious injuries, including a cerebral hemorrhage, skull and facial fractures, several broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a fractured spinal cord, and a fractured pelvis. Last year, Soyinka’s family told The Gazette that she and Hoover were driving home from bingo that night at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids.
Her son, Scott Soyinka, earlier said that Soyinka underwent multiple surgeries and remained in hospital for some time. She also had some memory problems after returning home.
Christophe, who was not injured, admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, according to the complaint. An initial breath test showed he was over the legal driving limit of 0.08. He also admitted to officers about the time he crashed the BMW, and stated more than three hours after the accident that he “didn’t feel drunk anymore.”
According to the complaint, the unit in his car showed he was driving at 65 mph five seconds before the collision and accelerated to 73 mph about 1.8 seconds before the collision — “demonstrating that his reckless driving was also a proximate cause of death and serious injury.” to the alleged victims.”
About three weeks before this accident, Christophe was charged with driving under the influence and had his driver’s license revoked, according to the complaint.
In the shooting case, Marion police investigators determined that Christophe and one or more other people conspired to “stalk” another person because that person had a dispute with Christophe’s sister, Louise Ndihukubwayo, according to a criminal complaint.
When they found the targeted victim at Lincoln Drive and 11th Street in Marion, someone shot the victim, who was near a school and residential neighborhood, with the intent to cause fear, the complaint stated.
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