Defense rests in Drew Blahnik murder trial, closing arguments will be Monday afternoon


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -With out calling a single witness of their very own, the protection has rested it’s case within the Drew Blahnik homicide trial. Protection lawyer Leon Spies made the announcement very first thing Monday morning on the Linn County Courthouse. The jury will reconvene at 1 p.m. to listen to jury directions and shutting arguments from either side.

On Friday, the prosecution rested it’s case after studying by means of a transcript of Blahnik’s 2019 grand jury testimony. Throughout that testimony Blahnik admitted to stabbing Chris Bagley to loss of life in December of 2018, however he claimed he acted in self protection. Blahnik mentioned Bagley pulled out a gun throughout an altercation with Drew Wagner and he felt each his life and Wagner’s life had been at risk. He additionally pointed to coaching he acquired whereas serving within the Military, calling his response, “muscle reminiscence.”

In complete, the jury heard from 13 witnesses on behalf of the prosecution all through the trial. The primary witness was Bagley’s spouse Courtney who admitted her husband struggled with medication however that he needed to get assist. “He mentioned I don’t need to do that, I need to be regular please assist me. And we began to have a look at rehab services for him,” she informed the jury.

The subsequent witness was Deputy John Schuchmann who labored for the Linn County Sheriff’s Workplace. “I used to be referred to as with reference to a lacking individual from that handle in Walker,” Schuchmann mentioned. He helped Courtney Bagley file the lacking individuals report when Chris went lacking in December of 2018.

The third witness of the trial was Morgan Kukla, a Cedar Rapids Police Officer. Kukla was dispatched to a report of an assault in October 2018. She met with Andy Shaw who was injured from an alleged assault by Chris Bagley. “He said that he was assaulted at his enterprise which was positioned at 1190 Capital Drive SW,” Kukla testified. She went to the enterprise to research and located harm to the door together with a bullet gap. When she requested Shaw if she may go inside to research, he informed her no. “I discovered it odd that he wouldn’t enable us to go examine the scene of the crime,” Kukla informed the jury.

The state then referred to as Deputy Jim Tindal. Tindal responded to a highway rage incident between Shaw and Bagley in 2018. He mentioned he pulled over Shaw’s orange Camaro and Shaw claimed Bagley pressured him off the highway after which broken his car with a gun. Tindal then pulled over Bagley’s car and requested him if he had a gun. Bagley mentioned he didn’t have a gun and officers didn’t discover one after they patted him down. “We tried to get permission to go looking the car for the weapon, he refused,” Tindal informed the jury. Shaw informed police he would come all the way down to the station to file a police report however he by no means confirmed up.

The fifth witness of the path was Deputy Chris Smith. Smith additionally responded to the highway rage incident between Shaw and Bagley. He spoke with Bagley throughout the visitors cease. “He informed me that he had been feuding with Mr. Shaw. That he had taken some cash from him and owed Mr. Shaw a big sum of cash, that’s why he was after him and that’s what was occurring,” Smith informed the jury. He then helped examine Bagley’s disappearance in December of 2018. He mentioned regulation enforcement was looking for Paul Hoff as a result of they thought he was the final to see Bagley alive.

The subsequent witness was Corissa Lynn Marti. Marti was in a relationship with Paul Hoff and was at his trailer the night time Bagley went lacking. She testified that she was excessive on meth when Bagley confirmed up on the trailer with a girl named Lydia Oline. Marti mentioned Bagley was exhibiting Hoff a gun. “It was silver and black,” she informed the jury. Marti testified that Bagley and Oline left the trailer after a bit, and that Bagley returned by himself later with a black duffle bag. She mentioned Bagley had a blow torch and a check tube within the duffle bag which had been used to do meth. Marti mentioned that she did meth with Bagley earlier than she left the trailer and went residence.

The jury then heard from Lydia Oline who was with Bagley the night time he went lacking. She testified that Bagley by no means had a gun. “Chris didn’t have a firearm that night time,” Oline mentioned. She mentioned that she and Chris went to Paul Hoff’s trailer and had been speaking about beating somebody up however there was by no means an precise plan to take action. Oline mentioned Bagley walked her to her automotive at one level and informed her that she ought to go residence, and that she ought to name him in a pair hours. Earlier than she left, Oline mentioned Bagley took an axe from her automotive. Oline testified that she tried to name Bagley later, however he by no means answered. She mentioned she was fearful the following morning when she realized individuals had been in search of him.

The second day of testimony began with Drew Wagner being referred to as to the stand. He initially confronted the identical fees as Blahnik however he’s since plead responsible to some legal fees regarding Bagley’s loss of life as a part of a plea deal. Wagner’s plea settlement additionally required him to testify in opposition to Blahnik on this trial. Complete he faces 47 years in jail, for medication and his position within the crime. Wagner might be sentenced in August. “Andy (Shaw) was a big scale marijuana trafficker,” Wagner defined to the jury. He mentioned Shaw’s store on Capital Drive is the place he would distribute medication. Wagner testified that Bagley had stolen from Shaw on a number of events together with money, medication and private property. “I feel Andy quoted the second at $75,000-$100,000,” Wagner informed he jury.

Wagner mentioned he witnessed a dialog between Blahnik and Shaw relating to Chris Bagley. “Andy mentioned one thing about killing Chris for one thing grand,” Wagner testified. He described getting roped into Blahnik’s plan to kill Bagley. “He mentioned he wanted to deal with one thing for Andy,” Wagner mentioned. He mentioned Blahnik requested him to name Paul Hoff and see if he was with Bagley. “I referred to as Paul, I used to be eager about pretend dialing it however he informed me to place it on speaker, so I put it on speaker. And the primary or second factor out of his mouth was that he was hanging out with Chris,” Wagner mentioned. “I used to be afraid of what would possibly occur,” he informed the jury.

He mentioned the 2 went to Hoff’s trailer figuring out Bagley was there and so they had a plan to mess him up. Wagner mentioned he was instructed to speak with Hoff in a separate room whereas Blahnik killed Bagley, but when he heard Blahnik chortle he was supposed to come back out, and in that case they had been simply going to leap him as a substitute. Wagner mentioned he heard Blahnik chortle so he and Hoff got here out. “I walked again in there was a completely totally different vibe within the room, you already know they had been each laughing, speaking forwards and backwards,” he mentioned. Wagner claimed Bagley was speaking about going to rob a gaggle generally known as the ‘slew crew.’ He mentioned he informed Bagley the thought was silly and that dialogue about robberies became Bagley bragging about his robberies of Shaw. “I made a cut up choice to bum rush him so I charged at him,” Wagner mentioned.

He informed the jury that he and Chris acquired right into a bodily altercation when he heard Blahnik yell, “gun, gun!” “I didn’t see the gun on him, he didn’t pull the gun on me,” Wagner defined. He mentioned the gun was on the ground and that he by no means noticed Bagley attain for it. Through the struggle, Wagner mentioned Blahnik started to stab Bagley. “I turned again round and I see the defendant have Chris by his hair and like a punching movement, I discovered later, a stabbing movement,” he mentioned. Wagner claimed he’s the one who needed to name police however that Blahnik and Hoff didn’t need to. He additionally mentioned it was Blahnik and Hoff who moved Bagley’s physique into his truck by means of a window within the trailer. He admitted he put a chunk of plywood over the physique and drove the truck again to his residence on Soutter Avenue southeast.

Wagner testified that he informed Shaw in regards to the homicide and Shaw’s response was, “one thing alongside the strains of oh my gosh he actually did it.” Wagner testified Shaw then gave him 10 bundles of money value round $10,000 to provide to Blahnik in addition to hundreds of {dollars} in medication. Wagner mentioned Shaw additionally gave him medication to provide to Paul Hoff. He testified that Blahnik informed him he would deal with Bagley’s physique in Wisconsin. As an alternative Wagner mentioned he got here residence in the future to search out Blahnik and Hoff had buried Bagley’s physique in his yard with out permission. “He mentioned that Paul had needed to kill me and he got here up with a means for me to stay I assume, by burying the physique at my home,” Wagner informed the jury.

The ninth witness of the trial was Shane Hoffner. Hoffner was given Wagner’s pickup truck that was used to move Bagley’s physique. He testified that Wagner had 4-5 vans on the time, however gave him that one.

The subsequent witness was Paul Hoff. Hoff mentioned he met Bagley in Could or June of 2018. “I used to be promoting meth on the time and I simply met him in enterprise,” Hoff mentioned. Hoff informed the jury that he and Bagley turned mates by means of spending time collectively. He testified that Bagley had robbed Andy Shaw on a couple of event. This included a theft Hoff admitted he helped with, the place Bagley took round 200 THC cartridges and $26,000 money from Shaw’s store on Capital Drive. Hoff mentioned the night time Bagley was killed, he had come to his trailer with Lydia Oline and the 2 had been attempting to get him to go on a theft. “Chris was like come on man that is going to be a superb one,” Hoff defined. Hoff mentioned he and Marti had been doing meth and hanging out on the time, Marti ultimately left.

Round 4 a.m. Hoff mentioned it was simply he and Bagley left on the trailer when Drew Wagner referred to as to ask if Bagley was there. “Chris was standing proper in entrance of me, I used to be like yeah he’s proper right here,” Hoff defined. Inside a few minutes, Hoff testified that Blahnik and Wagner confirmed up at his trailer. “Wagner says let me holler at you actual fast, and we return to the entrance bed room to speak,” Hoff mentioned. He testified that Wagner informed him they had been going to mess Bagley up. “I didn’t suppose it was going to escalate to what it did, I believed there could be slightly struggle or one thing and it could be over with,” Hoff mentioned.

Hoff informed the jury that Wagner and Bagley acquired right into a struggle over robberies when Blahnik jumped in and began stabbing Bagley. “Wagner’s type of acquired him across the physique however that’s when Blahnik stood up and he pulled the knife out of the again of his pants,” Hoff mentioned. He informed the jury he stood 5 toes away whereas Blahnik stabbed Bagley a number of instances within the facet, abdomen, chest and neck. Hoff testified that it was Wagner and Blahnik who buried Bagley.

The eleventh witness of the trial was Lieutenant Dave Beuter with the Linn County Sheriff’s Workplace. Beuter was the lead investigator within the disappearance and loss of life of Chris Bagley. He searched Hoff’s trailer after Bagley went lacking as a result of that was the final place he was identified to be. “It was a multitude, there was rubbish everywhere in the flooring. Partitions had been torn out, dry wall off the partitions, simply stuff scattered in all places,” Beuter informed the jury.

Lieutenant Beuter mentioned authorities had an arrest warrant for Paul Hoff on separate fees out of Jones County. When attempting to tug Hoff’s car over, Beuter says he ran from police till he acquired caught in a pile of snow. “We had been capable of open the door up, we tried to get him to conform to come back out. He needed to be subdued with a Taser,” Beuter defined. An interview with Hoff led investigators to imagine that Bagley was killed inside his trailer in order that they went to go looking it a second time. “A kind of objects that was taken which was a pattern of the ground, was later confirmed to have Chris’s DNA in it,” Beuter mentioned. Investigators additionally searched Drew Wagner’s residence and Drew Blahnik’s condo in Marion. Beuter described Wagner as “nervous” and mentioned he needed to speak with authorities after they arrived. At Wagner’s home, authorities discovered medication. At Blahnik’s residence, investigators discovered two knives, medication and a gun.

The jury then watched a 5 hour video of Blahnik’s interview with investigators which came about on the Linn County Sheriff’s Workplace. For greater than 4 hours, Blahnik denied even being on the trailer the night time Bagley went lacking. He ultimately admitted to stabbing Bagley, telling authorities that Bagley reached for a gun. “I mentioned that’s self-defense,” Blahnik might be heard saying throughout the interview.

Beuter then testified in regards to the restoration of Bagley’s physique, telling the jury authorities discovered him buried in Drew Wagner’s snow coated yard. Beuter mentioned a canoe and a few wooden had been positioned over the world the place Bagley’s physique was. Investigators rented a floor hotter to heat the bottom sufficient to get Bagley’s physique out, greater than two months after he went lacking.

The twelfth witness of the trial was Dr. Kelly Kruse, the Affiliate State Medical Examiner. Dr. Kruse did Chris Bagley’s post-mortem. “Mr. Bagley did appear like his driver’s license as a result of he was effectively preserved regardless of the period of time that glided by,” she informed the jury. Dr. Kruse walked by means of the accidents on Bagley’s physique, exhibiting the jury photos. A model was additionally introduced in carrying the garments Bagley was carrying when he died. Dr. Kruse identified how holes within the clothes correlated with the accidents to Bagley’s physique. She testified that he died of a number of sharp drive accidents.

The final witness referred to as to the stand was Al Steil, an investigator with the Linn County Lawyer’s Workplace. Steil was referred to as by the prosecution to learn by means of a transcript of testimony Blahnik gave a grand jury in 2019. At the moment Blahnik testified that he heard Drew Wagner yell out “gun” throughout the struggle with Bagley. “That’s once I reached for the knife and that’s type of when my muscle reminiscence type of kicked in,” he mentioned. “I keep in mind stabbing him within the, like within the facet after which stabbing him within the neck,” Blahnik admitted. He mentioned he had nothing to do with burying Bagley’s physique and that he didn’t know he was buried in Wagner’s yard till he noticed it on the information. “My kind of life-style isn’t to go killing individuals in chilly blood and never reporting it to authorities. That’s not me. That’s by no means been the best way I’ve acted my complete life, I’ve higher morals than that,” Blahnik mentioned.

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