Bail set at $1 million for Curtis Jones in bail bondsman homicide

Jones charged with first-degree murder in death of Jonathan Wieseler

Curtis Jones during a pretrial conference at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Jones is accused in the death of Iowa City cabdriver Ricky Lillie on June 27. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — A judge set a $1 million bail for Curtis Jones Tuesday morning in the death of bail bondsman Jonathan Wieseler.

The bail was set during Jones’ brief initial appearance on a first-degree murder charge before Judge Jason Burns in Johnson County District Court.

Authorities announced on Monday that Jones, 41, would be charged in the shooting death of Wieseler, which happened seven months ago this week.

Police said Jones shot Wieseler at Lederman Bail Bonds, 518 S. Capitol St., where Wieseler worked, sometime between 10:20 and 10:32 p.m. April 22. The shooting occurred while Jones was committing a robbery, which made the first-degree murder charge appropriate, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said on Monday.

During the Iowa City Police Department’s investigation of the homicide, surveillance footage was recovered that showed Jones driving a vehicle near the crime scene. Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and discovered the DNA of both Wieseler and Jones, according to authorities.

During Jones’ hearing on Tuesday, he requested that an attorney be present. Burns told Jones that had he wanted an attorney, he could have previously requested one. Jones told Burns that he was unable to contact an attorney.

“The jail didn’t allow me to talk to an attorney,” Jones said. “I just came out of a lockup right now.”

Burns appointed the Johnson County Public Defender’s office to represent Jones.

Jones already was in custody, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Iowa City cabdriver Ricky Lillie. Iowa City police said Jones entered Lillie’s cab around 11 p.m. June 27 and the two men drove to the 500 block of Ernest Street. There, authorities allege Jones shot Lillie in the head. He also is charged with first-degree robbery in that case and is scheduled to go to trial in Scott County beginning April 9.

Burns noted Tuesday that the Johnson County Public Defender’s office has withdrawn from representing Jones in the Lillie case and may do so again in the Wieseler case.

First-degree murder is a felony punishable by life in prison.

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