116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County jurors in the first-degree murder trial of Drew Blahnik, accused of killing Chris Bagley in 2018, didn’t reach a verdict Tuesday and will continue deliberations Wednesday.
The jury heard closing arguments Monday afternoon, following six days of witness testimony from the prosecution. The defense rested Monday without calling any witnesses. The jury deliberated for about 20 minutes before going home and resumed deliberations Tuesday.
Jurors will start again at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Blahnik, 34, of Cedar Rapids, also is charged with obstruction of prosecution and abuse of a corpse. He is accused of stabbing Bagley 13 times in the neck and torso on Dec. 14, 2018, according to testimony.
A medical examiner said last week that most of the stabbing injuries were fatal.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter, during her closing, said Blahnik hunted down and “executed” Bagley for drug dealer, Andrew Shaw, who was convicted on federal charges stemming from the Bagley investigation for marijuana trafficking and firearms.
Slaughter said the fatal stabbing wasn’t self-defense or justified, as Blahnik told a grand jury in 2019. He killed Bagley, 31, of Walker, because Bagley was “messing up” business for Shaw. Bagley had robbed the dealer of money and drugs more than once and Blahnik was ordered to “take care” of him.
Drew Wagner, already convicted in this case, testified that he and Blahnik went over to a trailer, owned by Paul Hoff, to do just that in the early morning hours of Dec. 14. Wagner said he and Bagley got into a struggle and he was holding Bagley’s arms down when Blahnik yelled “gun.” The gun fell to floor and wasn’t a danger to anyone.
Hoff, also charged in this case, testified that Blahnik pulled out a knife from behind his back and started stabbing Bagley and screaming like a “maniac.”
Hoff said Bagley didn’t have a gun.
Blahnik’s attorney, Leon Spies, during his closing, questioned the credibility and motivations of Wagner, who received a plea deal, and Hoff, who is serving 14 years on federal charges of drugs and firearms wanted a lesser sentence in exchange for his testimony and cooperation in this case.
Spies argued Blahnik, a former Army ranger, intervened when he saw Bagley’s gun to protect Wagner and himself. “This is one soldier defending another and himself.”
There is no evidence that Blahnik had anything against Bagley and of a conspiracy between Blahnik and Shaw, he said. Wagner — not Blahnik — had told Hoff he was there to “mess up” Bagley.
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