Judge delays trial in murder of Cordova man


Share
Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013, 5:57 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Vanessa Miller, The Gazette
Jurors chosen for the first-degree murder trial of Justin Marshall, accused in the 2009 Iowa City killing of John Versypt, of Cordova, were sent home early today without explanation from the judge.

The trial was delayed on Monday morning while prosecutors chatted with family members of the victim in a separate courtroom. When jurors finally were brought in for the third full day of testimony, Judge Sean McPartland promptly excused the 16 jurors for the day.

He simply said, "Matters have arisen that require discussion outside the presence of the jury." And, he said, the matters are going to take time to address.

Mr. Marshall, 22, was standing between his two attorneys when the judge dismissed the jury. He had a smile on his face, and he seemed to be grinning at family members. Typically, he's very stoic.

Immediately after dismissing the jury, the judge left the courtroom without further explanation, and attorneys began collecting their materials to leave as well.

Assistant County Attorney Meredith Rich-Chappell declined to comment about the "matters" that came up. When asked if she expects the trial to continue, she said she does.

Both of Mr. Marshall's defense attorneys declined comment. But Michael Adams, one of Mr. Marshall's attorneys, said, "The judge took a break so we could work on things." When asked if by "things" he meant a plea deal, Mr. Adams replied, "Work on things."

After proceedings closed for the day, family members went with prosecutors to discuss the issues that have come up. In open court, a victims' advocate appeared to be consoling them, saying, "I'm sorry."

Mr. Versypt, according to police, was a landlord for units in the Broadway Condominium complex in south Iowa City who was checking on his properties when he was shot in the head during an attempted robbery on Oct. 8, 2009. Charles Thompson, 20, was the first person to be arrested in the case in February 2010, followed by Mr. Marshall, 22, in July 2011, and Courtney White, 25, in October 2011.

All three men originally were charged with first-degree murder. Mr. Thompson's trial, the first of the three, ended in a mistrial when prosecutors inadvertently presented evidence that was inadmissible.

Following the trial, Mr. Thompson agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his promise to testify against Mr. Marshall. He has not yet taken the stand in Mr. Marshall's trial.

If convicted on the murder charge, both Mr. Marshall and Mr. White could face life in prison.



















 



Local events heading








  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.


(More History)