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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, October 15.
This is the first weekend of the year that will feel like a true Fall football weekend, although thankfully that won’t come with fans miserable in the rain. According to the National Weather Service there will be a slight chance of rain between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday. After that it will be partly sunny with a high near 61 degrees. Friday night the skies will gradually clear, with a low around 40 degrees.
A 17-year-old was found soaked in blood outside his northeast Cedar Rapids home Thursday morning. He told officers afterward that he killed parents to take charge of his own life.
Ethan Alexander Orton has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killing of his father Casey Orton, 42, and mother Misty Scott Slade, 41. Police say Ethan Orton told them he stabbed his father to death, stabbing his mother too, but switching to an axe when his mother appeared to still be alive.
Both parents worked for McGrath Auto in Cedar Rapids.
It is the second multiple family member killing by a young man in Cedar Rapids this year. In June, Cedar Rapids police arrested Alexander Ken Jackson, 20, after they say he shot to death his father, mother and sister — also in a northeast Cedar Rapids home. Investigators say Jackson initially tried to cover up his crime by telling what authorities called a “transparent lie” about an intruder breaking in and doing the killings instead.
As a sign of progress in their investigation, Cedar Rapids police have interviewed a 13-year-old boy hospitalized with injuries after an Oct. 1 shooting at a birthday party at a southwest Cedar Rapids hotel.
Police Chief Wayne Jerman held a news conference Oct. 4 to say no one was talking with police about a shooting that wounded six people. Police now report they’ve talked with the teenage boy and several other victims and witnesses to the shooting at the Ramada by Wyndham hotel.
The shooting broke out during a birthday party in a hotel conference room, authorities said. Police were unsure if there was one assailant or more. The shooter could face charges of going armed with intent and attempted murder, Jerman said on Oct. 4.
Police are also reviewing all available surveillance video as part of the ongoing investigation
Democrat Mike Franken of Sioux City, a retired three-star Navy admiral, is entering Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.
Franken, who announced his campaign on Twitter on Thursday morning, is the fifth candidate in the Democratic primary.
The winner of the primary will likely face longtime incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in next fall’s general election.
The other Democratic candidates are former U.S. Rep. and state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer of Cedar Rapids, farmer and former county supervisor Dave Muhlbauer of Manning, physician Glenn Hurst of Minden and veterans advocate Bob Krause of Burlington.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds appeared in Cedar Rapids Thursday for a wide-ranging interview as part of The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas conference. She said conversations about preventing legal workplace vaccine requirements are ongoing but this won’t distract from the redistricting issue that caused lawmakers to call a special session in the first place. Lawmakers earlier rejected a set of election maps drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, and are coming back this month to consider a second version.
Gov. Reynolds said her focus has been on the state’s focus to the pandemic, potential new tax cuts, border security and resettling Afghan refugees that will soon be arriving in Iowa.
Speaking of the Iowa Ideas conference, which will be entering its second day Friday, you can follow along for free online by going to iowaideas.com. Astronaut Peggy Whitson will share her journey from Iowa farm girl to record-breaking astronaut as a keynote speaker at The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas conference at 11 a.m. Friday.