Deontae Rush murder trial delayed due to COVID-19
James Shekie of Lincoln was killed in February 2021
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The murder trial for Deontae Rush, an Omaha man who is charged with killing 33-year-old James Shekie in Lincoln in February of 2021, has been delayed after the judge tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the court, several other people involved in the trial also tested positive for the virus, including officers and witnesses. The court is expected to reconvene on Friday.
Rush is facing a possible first-degree murder conviction.
The state opened up the trial in opening statements Monday by arguing that Deontae Rush, who was 25 at the time of the deadly shooting, killed James Shekie during an attempted robbery.
The state alleges that Deontae Rush went with ex-girlfriend Anna Feilen, 17 at the time, and her brother Marques Moten, 31 at the time, to Shekie’s house in a car on Feburary 23 to steal several pounds of weed. Feilen previously lived there; the defense added she had a relationship with Shekie and he’d kicked her out without her belongings.
In police statements after her March 3 arrest, Feilen told police that Rush went into Shekie’s home with a gun and then she heard gunshots. The state maintains that Rush was the one who pulled the trigger three times, hitting Shekie in the torso once, killing him.
In police reports, Feilen said Moten moved to the driver’s seat and drove them away, telling police that Moten is wheelchair bound, but still able to drive. She told police they left Rush behind. Feilen and Moten were arrested in this case on conspiracy to commit robbery charges.
The state alleged that Feilen and Moten drove away in a blue van, but would later pick Rush up at a different location and drive back to Omaha.
Rush’s defense argued Rush wasn’t even in Lincoln that night, saying instead that Moten is the killer. The defense argued that jailhouse informants will reveal that Moten is capable of getting up and walking and that he admitted to killing Shekie.
The defense also argues that Moten was the one who kickstarted the robbery because he wanted to get marijuana inside Shekie’s home. The defense said messaging records between Moten and another man strengthen the argument that Rush was not in Lincoln.
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