116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge this week denied moving a murder trial for a man accused of beating to death a woman with a board, ruling the media coverage hasn’t been “pervasive or inflammatory or sensational.”
The trial of Arthur J. Flowers, 62, of Cedar Rapids, charged with first-degree murder, will remain in Linn County. It is set to start next Tuesday.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover heard arguments last week from the defense, claiming press coverage had been inflammatory and pervasive from some media which created prejudice against Flowers and would prevent him from selecting a fair and impartial jury.
Hoover, in a ruling filed Sunday, said usually after a crime is committed, there is a “flurry” of news reports and there is typically follow-up reports on any continuances and pretrial hearings.
“The media’s coverage in this case follows the ordinary pattern,” Hoover wrote. “Neither the depth nor frequency of the media coverage in the record can be characterized as pervasive. None of the media coverage in the record is inflammatory or sensational.”
Last week, Flowers’ lawyers also asked Hoover to suppress statements Flowers made to police during an interview April 2, arguing he wasn’t fully aware of his rights and consequences of waiving those rights.
Hoover hasn’t filed a ruling on the suppression motion.
On April 2, officers responded to a 911 call at 6:06 p.m. made by Flowers who reported a woman, later identified as Emily Leonard, 22, of Cedar Rapids, had overdosed on heroin at his house.
According to criminal complaint, Flowers initially attempted to leave when officers arrived but then took them to a bathroom where Leonard was found with “obvious head injuries and blood spatter all over the bathroom.”
The woman’s clothing was in disarray, and police found a bloodied, 1-by-6-inch board, which investigators believed was the murder weapon based on the woman’s head injuries, the complaint stated.
Investigators said they found blood evidence in another area of the home where Leonard was likely killed and then her body moved.
During an interview with police, Flowers said he was alone with Leonard, a person he had known for many years, from Friday through Saturday, when he called in the “heroin overdose,” according to the complaint.
Flowers provided details about the incident that were not consistent with the crime scene, police said.
He also appeared to have blood on his hands and was wearing “what he described as” Leonard’s pants when officers arrived, the complaint stated.
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