Devonna Walker, a 29-year-old black woman was tragically murdered by Shane Teslik, a man from Cedar Rapids. The incident occurred during a heated argument with an unnamed lady who lived with him. The news of her death and the slow response to arresting the killer sparked outrage among activists who protested until her killer was arrested and charged.
Devonna left behind three children, the youngest of whom was less than three months old at the time of her death. Her murder prompted a strong push for justice. Here is all to know.
Devonna Walker was Stabbed to Death at the Cambridge Townhome Complex in Cedar Rapids
On January 2, 2023, Devonna Walker was murdered at her own home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on the north side of Cambridge Townhomes. The 29-year-old was stabbed to death during an altercation that obviously didn’t end well.
From the story, she was in a physical altercation with an unnamed woman and the unnamed man went into their apartment, took a knife, and stabbed her. While the exact details of all that transpired that night are unknown, there have been reports suggesting that racism may have played a role. She was a mother of three, a friend, and a sister.
Devonna’s friend, Alex Daniels revealed that a few of her neighbors wanted her dead a few weeks leading up to the incident. According to her, Devonna had experienced harassment from her neighbor due to her race and had to seek refuge in a hotel, the weekend before her murder. Alex also added that her friend had been feeling unsafe in her hometown for several weeks, even recounting incidents where she was threatened and even called a racial slur.
In addition to this, Devonna narrated how a white couple allegedly also wished her dead during an argument.
Shane Teslik Was Arrested Two Months After her Death
As earlier stated, Devonna was involved in a heated argument with an unnamed woman who lived with one of her neighbors named Shane Teslik. During the argument, Teslik tried to take her inside but that did not happen. He would then go inside the house, grab a knife, and stab her at the doorway. He reportedly did this in defense of a woman who was living with him and had even intentionally provoked Devonna to attack him by calling her a racial slur.
Further reports say Devonna charged at him during the argument and even struck him in the face. Autopsy reports confirmed that she died after one stab wound.
Shane was arrested 2 months after Devonna’s murder and faced charges of voluntary manslaughter and disorderly conduct in her death. He will have to spend a maximum of a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of at least $13000.
Read Also: Why And How Was Jazmine Trotter Murdered?
Devonna Walker’s Death Resulted in a Peaceful Protest by Activist
At the time Devonna was stabbed, charges were not pressed. Her white neighbor and the unnamed lady in his house were questioned but released the same night of her murder. None of her family members were even contacted and her mother Lasean Boles noted that she had to go to the police station to demand answers.
The injustice done to Devonna resulted in a peaceful protest by two dozen at the Linn County Courthouse with chants of her name and a sign read “Justice For Devonna”.
Although justice was eventually served with Shane’s arrest, Jimiane Cooper, Walker’s family friend and community organizer with “Parents Against Violence Everywhere” said Shane received a lesser charge for his actions. He argued that if the roles were reversed and a black man had committed the crime, he would have been charged with murder.
But these claims were refuted by Maybanks who insisted that the case wouldn’t have been handled differently regardless of the race involved. Regarding the case, he said;
Maybanks said, “We recognize that there is pain in the community over the loss of Devonna Walker. We share in lamenting the unnecessary loss of life to violence and remain committed to justice in this case, as we are in every case. We are asking that anyone who is feeling this pain and who is feeling anger to find support in resources available in the community and among community members but not to take matters into their own hands. We understand the family and friends of Devonna Walker – and our greater community – want answers as to what happened that led to Devonna Walker losing her life.”
Even though Shane has long been arrested and is now in police custody, Cooper and other activists plan to continue protesting until he is convicted.