Public Safety

Construction workers may have found gun used in fatal shooting of Iowa City bondsman

Prosecutors ask court to reset trial

Curtis Jones during a pre-trial conference at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Curtis Jones during a pre-trial conference at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Prosecutors want the trial reset for Curtis Jones, who is accused of killing an Iowa City bondsman last year.

The request comes after construction workers in Coralville last week found what might be the gun used in the fatal shooting. Prosecutors said they need time to analyze it.

Construction workers discovered a German made .25 caliber Gecado handgun Friday behind 405 2 Street in Coralville. Authorities said the gun might be the weapon that they contend Curtis C. Jones, 41, fired five times at bondsman Jonathan Wieseler on April 22, 2017.

The information was contained in a motion to continue filed today by Johnson County prosecutors.

The gun had tape on the grip and appears to contain rust from being outside for a considerable period of time.

Near the gun, police investigators also found a portion of a bank debit card that showed only the last digit of the account number.

An Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab report indicates that a copper jacketed bullet from the crime scene was analyzed and was consistent with having been fired from 26 different handguns, including a Gecado, according to the motion.

Crime scene evidence also indicates that five bullets were fired and five casings were recovered from the Lederman business where Wieseler worked, according to court documents. Two bullets were found at the scene, and three bullets entered his body and were recovered.

The Gecado found in Coralville holds seven bullets and was missing five, according to court documents. Two bullets remained in the gun.

Prosecutors, in the motion, said Wieseler’s wallet was missing from the crime scene and his debit card was from the same bank and had the same last digit of his account as the one found near the gun.

According to Jones’ cellphone records, he was making calls in the area near 405 2 Street, where the gun was recovered, about 12 hours after Wieseler was fatally shot, prosecutors said in the motion.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Liz Dupuich, in the motion, said a thorough forensic analysis of the recovered handgun requires DNA testing, a fingerprint exam and ballistic analysis. The testing and reports could not be completed before trial, now set for Sept. 28 in Polk County District Court.

Investigators also need additional time to explore leads related to the weapon and the debit card, Dupuich said. The defense also might request new depositions or hire an expert witness, she added.

The court didn’t rule today on the motion.

Authorities say Jones shot Wieseler between 10:20 and 10:32 p.m. April 22 at Lederman Bail Bonds in Iowa City. Police said the shooting happened during a robbery.

Jones also faces a first-degree murder charge in the fatal shooting of cabdriver, Ricky Lillie on June 27, 2017. The shooting happened after Jones rode in his cab to the 500 block of Ernest Street in Iowa City, according to a criminal complaint.

The trial in Lillie’s fatal shooting is set for Nov. 5 in Scott County District Court.

Both trials were moved out of Johnson County, based on extensive pretrial publicity.             

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

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

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