Crime

John S / Flickr

 THIS PROGRAM ORIGINALLY AIRED ON MAY 23, 2017

Anonymous sources have played a big role in the flurry of reporting and rapid-fire revelations surrounding the Trump administrations and investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

gavel
Wikimedia Commons

A jury Wednesday found Lamar Wilson guilty of voluntary manslaughter in a fatal shooting in downtown Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall last summer. Wilson was accused of killing one man and injuring two others shortly before bar close on Aug. 27, 2017.

Prosecutors originally charged Wilson with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter means the jury found Wilson intentionally shot the man who died, but he did so because of “sudden, violent and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation.”

polk county court
Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

The man accused of shooting three people in downtown Iowa City in August is going to trial Monday. Lamar Wilson is charged with the murder of one man and the attempted murder of two others in Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall, which was crowded with bar patrons at the time of the shooting.

The high-profile case will also be the state’s first trial involving a self-defense claim under Iowa’s new "stand your ground" law.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The head of the Iowa Department of Corrections briefed Gov. Reynolds today on an increase in violent crime in the state that he called shocking.  

Statistics from a national survey show that from 2006 through 2016, Iowa was one of only two states in the country where the incidence increased for all four categories of violent crime, including homicide, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault.  

At the same time, the recidivism rate is on the rise for perpetrators of violent crime. 

jorge sanders-galvez
John Lovretta / The Hawk Eye

Jorge Sanders-Galvez has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2016 killing of a gender-fluid teen.

Prosecutors say he aided and abetted Jaron Purham in the murder of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson in Burlington.

The jury submitted a verdict after less than two hours of deliberation in Keokuk.

Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers says she was somewhat surprised with the speed of the jury’s decision, but she thinks it was the right decision.

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SalFalko / Flickr

At a hearing Thursday in Johnson County court, attorneys debated whether the state’s new "stand your ground" law allows for immunity from prosecution in self-defense cases.

The issue came up after an August shooting in Iowa City’s downtown pedestrian mall. Lamar Wilson is charged with murder, attempted murder and gang participation in the case.

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SalFalko / Flickr

A district court judge has yet to decide if a hearing is needed to determine whether a man accused in an Iowa City shooting can use a "stand your ground" defense.

The man accused of shooting three people in Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall in August is asking the state to dismiss charges against him based on Iowa’s new "stand your ground" law.

lee county courthouse
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A federal hate crimes attorney says two men "kidnapped, suffocated and executed" a gender-fluid teen in Burlington.

Prosecutor Christopher Perras laid out the state’s case accusing Jorge Sanders-Galvez of first-degree murder in the killing of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson. The opening statement came Thursday after two full days of jury selection in Kekouk’s South Lee County Courthouse.

"The defendant and Jaron Purham shot and killed Kedarie, then took steps to cover it up," Perras says. He adds they had already "left a trail of evidence" after the killing on March 2, 2016.

iowa city
Kris / flickr

An Iowa City man charged with shooting three people on the city’s downtown pedestrian mall will claim a "stand your ground" defense at trial.

Lamar Wilson is accused of killing one person and injuring two others in an August shooting that police have said was not random.

Wilson’s attorneys submitted court documents Monday stating he intends to rely on self-defense, defense of others, defense against a forcible felony, defense of property, and the right to "stand your ground".

cedar rapids police patch
City of Cedar Rapids

A Cedar Rapids city employee was hospitalized after he brought a shotgun to the City Services Center  Wednesday morning. City officials say the man intended to harm himself.

The City Services Center, which houses several city departments and nearly 375 employees, was evacuated Wednesday morning.

Cedar Rapids Deputy Police Chief Tom Jonker says police entered the building and confirmed the man had caused no injuries.

Flickr / Carl Wycoff

The city of Des Moines is hoping a new, nearly $50,000 pot of money will convince reluctant witnesses to help police with unsolved homicides. 

In the past two years a dozen of homicides remain unsolved, and this year the city is seeing a sharp increase in these crimes. Des Moines has recorded 15 homicides this year, and  is on track to surpass 1978’s record of 27. 

The cash comes from local businesses like Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel, as well as the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

matt denlinger
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Cedar Rapids police are using new DNA technology to try to solve the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko.

The department sent 37-year-old DNA evidence to a company that uses DNA to predict the ancestry and appearance of the suspect.

At a Tuesday news conference, police presented three images resulting from the DNA analysis. They show a white male of northern and western European descent with blond hair, blue-green eyes and fair skin. The technology cannot predict age and weight, so different versions show what the suspect might look like at age 25 and age 50. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

The Madison County Sheriffs' Office has arrested a person in the burning of one of the area’s iconic covered bridges. Seventeen-year-old Alexander Hoff of West Des Moines is accused of purposely setting the Cedar Bridge on fire early Saturday. He’s been charged with arson in the first degree—a class B felony.

The Cedar Bridge is one of several covered bridges near Winterset seen in the 1995 movie, "The Bridges of Madison County."

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Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Carletta Knox-Seymour says gun violence came to the forefront in Cedar Rapids in 2015 after a 14-year-old boy shot and killed a 15-year-old. 

"Many facets of the city came together recognizing, at that point, how devastating things must have become in order for this to happen," she says. 

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Hundreds of central Iowans held a vigil in downtown Des Moines to mourn the lost lives in the Orlando mass killings. They came in support of the LGBT and Hispanic communities, and to call for tougher gun laws.

One Iowa, the state’s largest advocate for LGBT rights, organized the gathering in the sculpture park downtown. 

Politicians, civil rights leaders and local clergy paraded to the mic to call for an end to what they called senseless violence in America.

Deanna Edwards of Des Moines had family reasons for being in the crowd.

Joyce Russell/IPR

African-American activists cheered as Governor Branstad today signed into law one of the legislative priorities of the NAACP.    

The bill will keep court records confidential in most juvenile cases.  

The bill came out of the Governor’s Working Group on Justice Policy Reform.

Activists argue that black juvenile offenders are most affected because of their disproportionate  numbers in the courts.   

Iowa Senate Video Archive

On a mostly party-line vote, the Iowa Senate has approved a bill to add transgender individuals to those protected by Iowa’s hate crimes statute. 

The vote on Tuesday came after the killing last week of a teenager in Burlington.

Sixteen-year-old Kedarie Johnson was shot to death last Wednesday.   The student’s body was later discovered in an alley.

State Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) says Johnson was transitioning from female to male.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Police, prosecutors, and medical professionals  gathered in Iowa City yesterday to address the growing problem of heroin addiction in Iowa.       

They heard how overuse of prescription painkillers leads addicts to opt for heroin which is cheaper and easier to get.  

Heroin now rivals the methamphetamine epidemic.

Dr. Anthony Miller with Veterans Hospital in Iowa City says the heroin problem has its roots in the 1990’s when views on managing pain shifted in American medicine.   

John Pemble/IPR file photo

An Iowa man convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 will be resentenced. This comes as little surprise following the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling this summer in State of Iowa vs. Yvette Louisell

Eric Querrey was 15 when he shot and killed 16-year-old Stacy Halferty. He received the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

The NAACP held a day-long symposium Friday on the overrepresentation of African-Americans in Iowa prisons.   

The symposium addressed a wide range of issues, from racial profiling to the underrepresentation of minorities on Iowa juries.  

The NAACP cites statistics showing the overrepresentation of minorities in corrections is worse in Iowa than in any other state, in particular for drug offenses.  

Arnold Woods with the Des Moines NAACP says it’s not an abstract topic for blacks.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The NAACP announced today it will host a two-day summit next month to take a comprehensive look at racial disparities in Iowa’s criminal justice system.  

Law enforcement, judges, corrections officials and others will examine why African-Americans make up a bigger percentage in Iowa prisons than they do in the population as a whole.   

It’s a bigger event than the group has sponsored in the past.   

Governor Branstad will attend and the national NAACP will be on hand for the Iowa Summit on Justice and Disparities.  

Mark / flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Last year's legislation that decriminalized possession of cannabis oil for treatment of chronic epilepsy has not changed much for Iowa patients hoping to use the drug for treatment.

League of Women Voters of California / Flickr

Up until four years ago, Iowa felons were given back voting rights after finishing their prison sentences. 

michelle.irish

An annual report to the Iowa legislature and governor shows an increase in the amounts, potency, and use of methamphetamine in Iowa.

Mobydoux / Wikimedia Commons

Kelley Page saw his e-cigarette store as the new chapter in his life. So it stung that much more when it was taken away because of his past.

Ben Pollard / Wikimedia Commons

Tiffany Allison breathed a sigh of relief when she learned her former attacker was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Iowa’s Crime Victim Assistance Program was under scrutiny before a Republican-dominated committee at the statehouse.     The committee’s chairman says he got his questions answered about whether money was being misspent.   

Brian Wellner / Quad City Times

Last summer, a Long Grove resident was arrested after police found marijuana plants in his home. Benton Mackenzie claims his family grew the plants in order to treat a rare blood-vessel cancer. This past week, the jury reached a guilty verdict for Mackenzie, his wife and child.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Brian Wellner, crime reporter for the Quad City Times, about the circumstances, outcome of the trial and why the jury couldn’t hear his primary defense.

Fighting Chance Solutions

Since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been more than 70 shootings in schools around the country. Just this week, there was another at Reynolds High School in Oregon.

Imagens Evangélicas

Up to two million women and children worldwide are victimized by traffickers each year.

It’s often thought to be a problem outside our border, but the majority of sex trafficking victims in this country are U.S. citizens. And, some of these victims are right here in the Midwest.

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