Public Safety

Judge delays trial for man accused of killing Iowa City bondsman

New evidence to be analyzed could aid defendant

Curtis Jones sits in the courtroom before a hearing at Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018. Jones is charged with first-degree murder in the April 22, 2017 death of Jonathan Wieseler. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Curtis Jones sits in the courtroom before a hearing at Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018. Jones is charged with first-degree murder in the April 22, 2017 death of Jonathan Wieseler. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — In another unexpected twist in the fatal shooting of an Iowa City bondsman last year, prosecutors Wednesday asked for a second delay of the trial, because DNA evidence that could benefit the defendant, Curtis C. Jones, needs to be analyzed.

The trial had been set to start on Friday.

A few weeks ago, prosecutors thought they found the gun that Jones, 41, is accused of using in the fatal shooting of Jonathan Wieseler, but further investigation showed it wasn’t and prosecutors withdrew request to continue.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson said he was “frustrated” by the late hour of the motion for continuance, as he imagined the defense and the victim’s family shared that frustration, but he said he felt “compelled” to delay the trial if the evidence could help the defendant have a fair trial.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Mike Ringle told a judge Wednesday that the DNA analysis, which has to be conducted by the FBI, will likely take about a month. The results could produce “exculpatory evidence” — meaning it would be favorable to Jones, Ringle said.

Doug Davis, Jones’s lawyer, said Jones wanted to go forward with the trial. Davis however, is in favor of the delay if the evidence may help his client.

Davis then talked quietly with Jones, who wanted to make a statement but decided against it. 

Anderson didn’t set a new trial date on Wednesday. 

Jones, charged with first-degree murder, is accused of shooting Wieseler sometime between 10:20 and 10:32 p.m. on April 22, 2017 at Lederman Bail Bonds in Iowa City. Authorities said Wieseler was shot five times and 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 trial in Lillie’s fatal shooting is set Nov. 5 in Scott County District Court.

Both trials were moved out of Johnson because of 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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