Public Safety

No delay in murder trial for fatal shooting of Iowa City bondsman

Curtis Jones' defense asked for continuance

Curtis Jones consults with attorney Doug Davis before his sentencing at the Johnson County Courthouse on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. A Scott County jury in November found Jones guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of cabdriver Ricky Lillie, and he was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Curtis Jones consults with attorney Doug Davis before his sentencing at the Johnson County Courthouse on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. A Scott County jury in November found Jones guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of cabdriver Ricky Lillie, and he was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — A judge Monday denied another trial delay for a man charged in the fatal shooting of a bail bondsman.

The first-degree murder trial of Curtis Jones, 42, of Mount Pleasant, will start as scheduled Monday in Polk County District Court. The trial was moved out of Johnson County because of extensive pretrial publicity.

Jones is accused of killing Jonathan Wiesler, 34, who was fatally shot April 22, 2017, at Lederman Bail Bonds in downtown Iowa City. Wieseler was shot five times during a robbery, authorities said.

Jones was convicted in November in a separate murder trial for the fatal shooting of an Iowa City cabdriver.

Doug Davis, Jones’ lawyer, asked for a continuance because the defense’s expert had not had time to analyze additional evidence disclosed by the prosecution last month. Davis also said the prosecution conducted depositions of three additional witnesses, which his team needed more time to interview.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson said there was no compelling reason for another delay. After the last delay, which was granted because it could have benefited the defendant, each side gave input into the January trial date.

Anderson also said the three witnesses had been known to the defense for some time, and if the defense needed to take additional depositions, he would call for a recess during the trial.

There is a hearing set for Friday to take up another defense motion and time could be made then for additional depositions if needed, Anderson said.

Jury selection was expected to start Friday but because of the defense’s motion — claiming Jones, who is black, can’t get a fair trial because of the lack of African-American representation in Polk County jury pools — the potential jurors will only fill out juror questionnaires. Questioning by attorneys won’t start until Monday.

Jones was sentenced last Friday to life in prison for killing Ricky Lillie, 46, an Iowa City cabdriver, on June 27, 2017.

Trial testimony showed Jones shot Lillie while he was a passenger in Lillie’s Yellow Cab. Lillie was shot once on the right side of his head with the muzzle pressed against his skin and then shot in the face at close range.

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