'She didn't deserve to die'

Victim's uncle speaks at Hogan's first court appearance

Shaun Hogan (right), seated with Linn County Public Defender Brian Sissel, makes his initial appearance via video at Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 11, 2014, on first degree murder in the death of Crystal Gaffney. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

The uncle of Crystal Gaffney traveled to Cedar Rapids from Texas to watch Shaun Hogan’s first appearance in court, hoping to see a look of remorse in the man’s face.

That look never came, John Maynard said.

“He showed no remorse in his face,” Maynard said. “He was smiling. Do you know how that makes a person feel?”

Hogan, 36, of Waterloo, made his initial appearance Friday morning in Linn County on a first-degree murder charge of 29-year-old Gaffney. Hogan did not speak during the brief appearance via closed-circuit television and his bond was set at $1 million cash. He will be represented by the Linn County Public Defender’s Office.

Hogan was arrested Thursday, a day after Gaffney’s body was found outside of Walker.

Linn County Sheriff’s Office investigators were called to Linn-Buchanan Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and found Gaffney fully clothed, lying in the gravel road with multiple, unspecified injuries. An autopsy determined she died as a result of blunt force trauma.

Later on Wednesday, an Amber Alert was issued for Gaffney’s three children, one of which she had with Hogan. The children wound up at a residence in Waterloo belonging to friends or relatives, according to Waterloo Police Department Lt. Michael McNamee.

McNamee said he wasn’t certain how the children arrived there, but said they were in good health.

Following the Amber Alert, Waterloo and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation authorities announced they were searching for Hogan. On Thursday, Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said his investigators wanted to speak with Hogan about Gaffney’s death.

Hogan was found in Waterloo Thursday afternoon.

Hogan and Gaffney had been scheduled to appear in court in Black Hawk County on Thursday in regard to a petition for relief from domestic abuse filed by Hogan on June 30. Maynard said Gaffney and Hogan were not a couple at the time of her death, but had been involved in a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship for the past year to 18 months. Maynard said Hogan was abusive toward Gaffney, but his niece continued to go back to him.

“People like this, they get their claws in a person,” Maynard said.

In April, Maynard said the couple took a trip to California. Maynard said he received a message from his niece asking for help getting back to Waterloo without Hogan.

The uncle arranged for someone to look after Gaffney as she got on a bus, but Hogan followed the bus to Reno where there couple reunited.

A month later, Maynard said Gaffney called him and told him that Hogan had choked her. Maynard called Waterloo police, but Hogan was not arrested.

“I don’t understand why he wasn’t arrested,” he said. “If he was arrested, maybe my niece would still be here today.”

Gaffney’s mother died in a car crash when Gaffney was seven years old and her father is serving a sentence in Anamosa State Penitentiary for drug charges, Gaffney was “just looking to be loved,” Maynard said.

“Crystal was a good person,” he said. “She didn’t deserve to die.”

First-degree murder is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison.

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