Public Safety

Medical Examiner: at least 2-3 weeks before Justin DeWitt autopsy complete

Justin DeWitt smiles at supporters sitting in the front row of the courtroom during his sentence hearing at the Johnson
Justin DeWitt smiles at supporters sitting in the front row of the courtroom during his sentence hearing at the Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday, July 26, 2018. DeWitt pleaded guilty in May to two counts of attempted murder and two counts of solicitation to commit murder in a murder-for-hire of a business associate, his wife and their two children. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The cause of death for the former North Liberty landscaper imprisoned for plotting to kill a family of four and witnesses in that case won’t be known for several weeks at the earliest.

Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office Administrative Director Clayton Schuneman said autopsy results for 39-year-old Justin L. DeWitt are at least two to three weeks away. Schuneman said results from tests such as toxicology are pending.

DeWitt was declared dead on Friday at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, where he had been serving time since July 27, 2018. DeWitt was arrested in June 2016 when he plotted to kill a man and his family over a landscaping dispute. DeWitt met with a person he thought was a hit man — but was actually an undercover officer — and gave him a down payment of $1,000 to have the family killed.

While awaiting trial and being held in the Muscatine County Jail, DeWitt plotted to have witnesses in the case against him killed. He eventually met twice with another uncover officer to make arrangements to have the witnesses killed and earned additional charges.

DeWitt pleaded to lesser charges in the first case, and a jury took only 12 minutes to convict him in the second.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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