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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The convicted killer of Chris Bagley wants to represent himself in his upcoming drug trial, and a judge granted it Thursday.
Drew Alan Blahnik, 34, of Marion, who changed his name to Johnny Blahnik Church after being sentenced to 57 years in prison for fatally stabbing Bagley Dec. 14, 2018, will act as his own lawyer for his April 19 trial.
He is charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance — marijuana — and drug tax stamp violation.
His previous lawyer, Leon Spies, asked the court to withdraw from the case.
Blahnik is accused of possessing 100 “heavy-hitters” marijuana cartridges individually wrapped that were intended for delivery, according to a criminal complaint. Police found the cartridges underneath his bed while serving a search warrant Feb. 25, 2019 — before he was charged in Bagley’s murder — at his residence in Marion.
The complaint stated Blahnik said the cartridges were worth $2,000 and each sold for $20. Officers also found a handgun, various ammunition and several knives.
According to trial testimony in the Bagley murder, Blahnik claimed the marijuana cartridges belonged to Drew Wagner, who was also convicted in Bagley’s death.
None of the knives found in Blahnik’s apartment in 2019 were used in kill Bagley, according to testimony.
Court documents show one of Blahnik’s witnesses at his drug trial will be Wagner, who will be moved from an Iowa prison back to Linn County Jail pending the trial.
Blahnik, who claimed self-defense in the Bagley murder, was convicted by a Linn County jury in July of second-degree murder, obstruction of prosecution and abuse of a corpse. He stabbed Bagley, 31, of Walker, 13 times in the neck and torso on Dec. 14, 2018.
According to trial testimony, Blahnik “hunted down” Bagley on behalf of drug dealer Andrew Shaw, who wanted Bagley killed.
Wagner, who agreed to testify against Blahnik as part of his plea deal, said Blahnik stabbed and killed Bagley because Bagley had robbed Shaw of drugs and money. Shaw, not charged in Bagley’s slaying, is in federal prison after being convicted of being a large-scale marijuana trafficker in Cedar Rapids.
If convicted in the drug case, Blahnik faces up to 10 years.
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