Another trial delay in Iowa City's 2009 landlord slaying

Murder cases set after the new year

Courtney White (Johnson County Sheriff's Office)
Courtney White (Johnson County Sheriff's Office)

The first-degree murder trial of one of three men arrested in connection with the 2009 killing of an Iowa City landlord has been postponed, again, as his co-defendants’ cases slowly move through the legal system.

Courtney White, 24, of Coralville, was supposed to be tried in the shooting death of John Versypt, 64, of Cordvoa, Ill., on Jan. 8, but a judge on Thursday said the trial will be moved to the spring. The judge mentioned March as a possible date, although he said the court won’t schedule an exact two-week period until next week.

White appeared in court on Thursday morning wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. A half dozen family members and friends were in the courtroom for the brief discussion on delaying White’s trial for a third time.

One of White’s co-defendants, Justin Marshall, 21, is scheduled to be in court Thursday afternoon for a status conference and motions hearing in his first-degree murder case.

Marshall’s trial also has been postponed three times and is now set for Jan. 22. Part of Thursday’s hearing will include arguments around a defense motion to suppress evidence in his case.

A third co-defendant, Charles Thompson, also was initially charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. But, in December, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact following a mistrial in his case.

As part of his plea deal, Thompson, 20, agreed to testify against Marshall. The deal has Thompson remaining behind bars until after his sentencing, and he can’t be sentenced until after he’s fulfilled his part of the plea deal – to testify against Marshall.

Because Marshall’s trial was delayed, Thompson’s sentencing hearing also was postponed until Feb. 15, according to online court records.

All three men are accused of playing a role in the killing of Versypt on Oct. 8, 2009. Versypt, according to police, was a landlord for some units in the Broadway Condominiums in south Iowa City and was checking on those units when he was shot in the head and hand during a robbery attempt.

According to trial information, Thompson admitted to police that he knew Marshall and another man killed Versypt, and he admitted to helping Marshall dispose of the clothes he was wearing at the time of the shooting.

If convicted, both Marshall and White face mandatory life sentences in prison.Thompson’s lesser charge comes with a two-year prison term, but by the time he’s sentenced in February, he’ll have been in jail for three years. His attorneys said he’ll get credit for time served, meaning he probably won’t have to serve additional time behind bars after the sentencing.