There was a great deal of tension Monday morning at the Linn County Courthouse as a jury's verdicts were returned involving the killing of two Cedar Rapids citizens. There was good reason for the extra concern.

A Linn County jury returned two guilty first-degree murder verdicts against Kendu Petties Monday morning at the Linn County Courthouse in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The jury concluded that Petties shot and killed Quintrell Perkins and Sierrah Simmons on April 2, 2014. During trial testimony, it was unveiled that Petties fired 11 shots into a house at 1708 4th Ave SE. The home belonged to Perkins' dad. One bullet struck Perkins, 22, in the chest and the other struck Simmons, 20, in the head/neck area. Both died from their injuries. Four other people inside the home at the time, two adults and two children, were not injured.

During the trial, it was also confirmed that Perkins and Simmons were not being targeted. Witnesses said Petties was actually attempting to shoot two men that, according to the Gazette, "were known to hang around the residence."

In addition to this morning's two first-degree murder convictions, Petties was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit a forcible felony. That conviction stems from charges that the attack was pre-meditated, and involved other people.

Kendu Petties was arrested in Arizona of 2015, more than a year after the shooting, according to CBS 2. The first-degree murder convictions both carry mandatory sentences of life in prison. Petties' sentencing date has not been announced.

Courthouse security

There was an additional police and sheriff's presence at the Linn County Courthouse this morning, because of heightened tensions involving the case.

Three days into the trial, which started February 15, 11 Cedar Rapids Police cars descended on the 3rd Avenue bridge after, according to sources, a fight broke out that that involved parties in the murder trial.

Local authorities hope that today's verdicts are the end of this story...

Police respond to fight
Cedar Rapids Police respond to a fight on the 3rd Avenue Bridge the morning of February 17, 2017. KHAK photo

[via CBS 2 and Gazette]

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