CHRIS BAGLEY

Man won't face murder charge in Chris Bagley slaying after plea deal

Drew Wagner will face manslaughter, other charges under agreement

Drew Wagner
Drew Wagner

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man, who held down Chris Bagley while another man stabbed him to death, will plead Monday to voluntary manslaughter and four other charges.

Drew Wagner, 34, faces up to 37 years in prison after pleading to amended charges of voluntary manslaughter, assault while participating in a felony, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution, according to court documents filed Wednesday in Linn County District Court.

Wagner was originally charged with first-degree murder.

Mark Brown, Wagner’s lawyer, filed the plea agreement details, which state the prosecution and defense agreed to run the charges consecutively with a mandatory minimum of 10 years to be served before Wagner would be eligible for parole.

Wagner also will plead during the hearing in a separate case to possession with intent to deliver and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. The sentences on those charges will run concurrently to each other for a total of five years.

The prosecution, at sentencing, will argue those five years should run consecutively to the Bagley charges for a total of 42 years in prison, according to the plea agreement.

In May, Stewart Bagley, Chris Bagley’s father, said Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter talked to him and his family about the plea and they agreed to it.

Drew Blahnik, 33, of Cedar Rapids, also is charged in Bagley’s death with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of justice. His trial was reset in May to Feb. 15, but that date could change because he is asking a judge next Tuesday to move his trial out of Linn County.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Blahnik faces life in prison without parole.

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Paul Hoff, 40, of Cedar Rapids, is also charged with abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution for his part in Bagley’s death. His trial is set for Aug. 17. He is already serving a federal sentence for firearms and drugs.

Search warrant shows stories differed

An unsealed search warrant obtained by The Gazette in May revealed more details of the Dec. 14, 2018, assault on Bagley 31, of Walker, and revealed how Wagner and the two others told different versions of what happened.

Bagley, a husband and father of two, left home Dec. 13, 2018, with a woman his wife didn’t know and did not return. Authorities found his body buried in the yard at 4069 Soutter Ave. SE, where Wagner had been living, on March 1, 2019.

At a federal court hearing in April 2019, authorities said Bagley was killed during a fight over drug robberies from Andrew Shaw, 31, of Cedar Rapids, a convicted large-scale marijuana trafficker, who is serving up to eight years in federal prison.

Shaw hasn’t been charged in Bagley’s death.

Bagley, Blahnik, Wagner and Hoff sold drugs for Shaw, according to testimony.

Hoff, according to the search warrant affidavit, said Bagley came to his trailer, 7100 Mount Vernon Rd., Lot 26, on Dec. 14, 2018, and then Wagner and Blahnik came over when they learned Bagley was there.

Wagner and Bagley got into a “heated discussion” about Bagley causing issues with a marijuana business involving Wagner and Shaw, according to the affidavit.

Wagner thought Bagley had been stealing drugs and money from different locations belonging to him or Shaw. Hoff said the argument started “calm” but escalated into a fight between Wagner and Bagley.

Blahnik was sitting on a stool watching until the two began fighting, and he pulled a knife from his waistband and stabbed Bagley once in his side. Wagner was behind Bagley with his arms around him and took him down on the floor of the trailer.

Blahnik stabbed at Bagley again but cut Wagner in the hand, Hoff said. Blahnik then grabbed Bagley by his hair and stabbed him at least two more times in the neck, causing his death.

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They wrapped Bagley’s body in a tarp and removed it from the trailer through a back window into the bed of Wagner’s truck, Hoff told investigators.

Hoff said Blahnik and Wagner took the body to bury in Wagner’s yard, according to the affidavit.

Wagner, in his interview with authorities, said Blahnik asked Wagner to take him to the trailer because Bagley owed Blahnik money.

Wagner admitted he started the fight with Bagley over drug and money robberies.

While they were “wrestling,” Wagner said he saw a firearm in Bagley’s waistband. Then, “out of nowhere,” Blahnik began to stab Bagley.

Blahnik, in his interview, said the fight was over the sale of a gun and money owed. Wagner tried to give Bagley a “chance out” of the dispute, but Bagley pushed him and the fight started.

Wagner then yelled “gun, gun,” as Bagley was reaching toward his back pocket, Blahnik told investigators. He “protected” Wagner and stabbed Bagley because Bagley reached for a gun.

Federal investigators last year said Hoff told them Bagley didn’t have a gun.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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