Robbery victim speaks out after murder arrest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Robbery victim speaks out after murder arrest

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A man responsible for two armed robberies now faces a murder charge after being released from prison early.

In 2005, Curtis Jones robbed the Cantebury Inn and Suites in Coralville and Cub Foods at gunpoint. A Cubs Food employee was also assaulted by Jones and another man.

Those crimes got Jones sentenced to 40 years in prison but on October 18, 2016, he was paroled despite blemishes on his record while imprisoned. According to the Iowa Department of Corrections page, Jones failed to return to prison while on a work release and was put on escape status until he returned.

On Wednesday, Iowa City police issued an arrest warrant for Jones, charging him for the murder of Ricky Lillie. Lillie was an Iowa City cab driver who was found dead in his cab after being shot in the head.

Ray Gilmore worked at the Cantebury Inn for more than ten years. On that night in 2005, he was the only one working when Jones came in and robbed him and the business.

"He comes around the corner gun drawn and comes over the counter, literally leaps over the counter and sticks the gun right in my face and demands all of the money," Gilmore said.

It's not a night that Gilmore thinks about often, but it's not one that he has since forgotten about.

"He pushed me into the back room where the safe was and demanded the safe be opened well, I couldn't open the safe and I'm thinking oh boy things are going to go wrong now; fortunately for me he just taped up my hands took my wallet, took all my money," he recalled.

That night he remembers that Jones was demanding and when he was being tied up, Jones held him down with his foot. The word "fortunate" is how Gilmore chooses to describe that night.

"I knew there was a good chance I was probably going to get hurt but I was lucky because later that night he robbed a grocery store   Those people put up a fight and they ended up getting injured," he said.

Gilmore said Jones took his drivers license and looked at his address. According to Gilmore, Jones told him that now he knows where he lived and threatened that he would find him if anything happened. When Jones failed to return to prison from his work release, Gilmore moved, just in case Jones did remember that address.

Today, Gilmore still considers himself fortunate after learning about the murder charge Jones now faces, but he said more than that, he's frustrated.

"A man lost his life because this guy who's committed numerous crimes was out on the streets and he had no business being on the streets," Gilmore said.

When Jones was paroled, Gilmore wasn't made aware. He said he thought Jones would spend the rest of his life in prison. He's hopeful that will be the case now.

"I just hope the Johnson County prosecutors, the police, get this right. Get this guy behind bars for the rest of his life," Gilmore said.

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