Iowa man gets 45 years in killing outside Gary gas station


CROWN POINT, Ind. — An Iowa man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty in the 2015 death of an Illinois man fatally shot outside a Gary gas station.

A Lake County judge sentenced Dontrall Jer’i Phillips, 25, of Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday after accepting his guilty plea to a murder charge under a plea agreement that calls for prosecutors to drop a robbery charge.

Phillips was one of four people charged in the April 2015 shooting death of Donald Fuzzell, 21, of Calumet Park, Illinois, during a botched robbery in the parking lot of a Gary gas station.

Daidreon Sparks, Walter Rondo III and Jimmie Caldwell are also facing charges in the killing.

Deputy prosecutor Keith Anderson said both Phillips and Caldwell fired weapons, but ballistics evidence showed Phillips didn’t fire the fatal shots, the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported.

Caldwell, Rondo, Phillips and Sparks met before the robbery and had planned “to split the proceeds from the planned robbery,” according to a probable cause affidavit which also states that they “discussed robbing someone so they could smoke and drink.”

Phillips’ lawyer, Cipriano Rodriguez said his client, who was 19 at the time of Phillips’ killing, has a history of family and personal mental health issues and joined a gang at 12.

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