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Plea deal reached in murder of 22-year-old Davenport woman, family satisfied with it

Parker Belz signed a plea deal Tuesday that lowers his 1st-degree murder charge to attempted murder in the 2020 shooting death of Italia Kelly.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A plea deal was filed Tuesday, Oct. 5 with the Scott County District Court in the murder case of 22-year-old Italia Kelly.

Parker Belz was charged and arrested with 1st-degree murder of Kelly and intimidation with a dangerous weapon June 19, 2020. 

In Tuesday's agreement, Belz's 1st-degree charge moved to the lesser attempted murder, and the intimidation charge was dismissed entirely. Attempted murder required a mandatory 25-year sentence with 75% of the prison time served before consideration for parole. Belz was also responsible for paying $150,000 in restitutions to Kelly's family.

Read Belz's full plea agreement here.

Kelly was killed amid civil unrest and protests for racial justice that emerged throughout the country in the wake of George Floyd's death May 25, 2020, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Kelly's mom, Sharon Kelly, spoke with News 8 following the plea deal. 

"We're just happy that he got some time and he got some time to sit and think about what he's done," Kelly said. "It gives the family a bit of a sigh of relief that after all this time she's gone she can actually rest." 

Sharon Kelly says for the family it wasn't so much the charges as it was the time served. For her and the rest of Italia's family they just wanted to see justice for Italia. 

"We knew we could have gone to trial but as a family we decided one we weren't mentally ready for all that. And who knows what the trial of the outcome could have been, he could have gotten a lesser sentence than this," Kelly said. 

She says the family is ready now to move on and find their closure. For them, an apology from Belz would be nice, but it isn't necessary for their healing. 

"“For us if he apologizes that’s great, but if not he’s going to have to deal with that karma," Kelly said. "Only the Lord can judge him at this point, it’s all on him now. It’s focusing on us now."

Kelly was leaving a protest May 31, 2020, outside of a Davenport Walmart when she was shot and killed by then-21-year-old Belz.

RELATED: One year later: remembering Italia Kelly, the 22-year-old shot during Davenport's unrest

Just after the one-year anniversary of Kelly's death, Davenport's Mayor Mike Matson and Police Chief Paul Sikorski announced a new task force on June 1 aimed at halting gun violence.

The task force consisted of law enforcement; city council members; organizations like LULAC, the NAACP, Davenport Schools, Genesis and Vera French Community Mental; and local youth.

RELATED: Davenport mayor announces task force to combat violent crime

In a conference announcing the task force, Sikorski said gun violence had reached a new high in the city. According to the chief, there were 279 shots-fired incidents and 47 non-fatal shootings in 2020, and 2021's incidents kept up with the previous year's.