Victims’ families say sentence for Taboo Nightclub shooter is ‘not justice’

Families read victim statements in Taboo shooting trial
Families read victim statements in Taboo shooting trial
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 1:59 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Timothy Rush was sentenced up to 30 years in prison for his role in the Taboo Nightclub shooting on Monday, but the families of those he killed said it wasn’t enough.

The shooting on April 10, 2022 killed three people, and nine more were hurt. Investigators say surveillance video in the club shows Rush shooting into the crowd, killing Nicole Owens and seriously hurting Marvin Cox. Cox was shot in the head and died about two months later. The criminal complaint in the case says Rush “fired intentionally and indiscriminately.”

After hearing ten victim impact statements, the judge outlined Rush’s sentence of up to thirty years. The crowd of about fifty people got up and walked out before he finished, forcing a pause in the proceedings.

“Up to 30 years in not justice,” said Marie Mulkey, Cox’s mother, during her victim impact statement. “It feels like a slap on the wrist. Life in prison is justice .”

Justine Grant was the mother of one of Cox’s children. She shared how Cox’s death had traumatized their daughter, leading to anxiety and trouble in school. “Sometimes even told me she wants to die so she can be with her dad. She’s only six years old.”

Rush was the first to speak and he used his time to issue an apology. “I never had any intentions on hurting anyone,” he said.

The friends and loved ones of the victims said Rush, who had been a boyfriend of Owens, was jealous, possessive, and irrational, and that his apology held no water for them.

“Now that I hear that fake apology you had? You’re pathetic,” said Eugene Winters III, Owens’ brother.

The families also said they were disappointed with how the case had been handled.

“I don’t know who I’m more upset with: the ones who pulled the trigger or the ones who was responsible for not— the plea deal, we didn’t even get the courtesy of a phone call,” said Nicole Winters, Owens’ stepmom.

Whether Rush received 30 years or a lifetime, it was clear nothing could give these families what they really wanted, which was to have Owens and Cox back.

“I wish she had never met you because she’d be alive today,” said Stacia Winters. “To not have her anymore kills me.”

Dimione Walker was the other shooter. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole last December. A jury convicted him of first degree murder in November last year.