Public Safety

Trial reset to July for two men accused of stabbing Chris Bagley

Drew Blahnik
Drew Blahnik
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CEDAR RAPIDS — The trial for two men charged in the fatal stabbing of Chris Bagley last December has been set tentatively for July 6 in Linn County District Court.

Drew Blahnik and Drew Wagner, both 32, of Cedar Rapids, were in court Monday for a pretrial hearing. Each was charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns said the trial date is tentative because both men may ask the court to separate their cases, and both could ask for a change of venue.

Wagner plans to hire a private attorney, instead of using a public defender. His new attorney may have an issue with the July date, Bruns also pointed out.

No other issues, besides setting deadlines for motions, were discussed during the hearing.

Bagley’s father, Stewart Bagley, who attended the hearing, along with several family members and friends, said afterward that he had expected the original trial date in February to be reset.

He doesn’t like the wait for a trial. But, he said, “I understand this, and just happy it’s moving now ... toward a resolution.”

He said the 76 days of waiting after his son went missing Dec. 13, 2018, until March 1, when authorities found his body buried in frozen ground in southeast Cedar Rapids, was most “agonizing” for the family.

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Paul Hoff, 40, of Cedar Rapids, already sentenced to 14 years for firearms and drugs, also is charged in Bagley’s death with abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution. He is being tried separately. His trial is set Jan. 13. It could be delayed because he probably will testify against Blahnik and Wagner.

Several people connected with Bagley, 31, of Walker, through drug activities have been charged or convicted of drugs and firearms violations in the investigation.

Bagley, a husband and father of two, left home Dec. 13, 2018, with a woman his wife didn’t know and did not return.

At a federal court hearing in April, authorities said Bagley was killed during a fight over the drug robberies of Andrew Shaw, 31, of Cedar Rapids, a convicted, large-scale marijuana trafficker.

Bagley, Blahnik, Wagner and Hoff all sold drugs for Shaw, according to testimony.

Wagner confronted Bagley about the robberies Dec. 14, 2018, at Hoff’s mobile home, and the two started fighting, authorities said. Blahnik stabbed Bagley, federal agents testified.

Wagner and Blahnik buried Bagley in the yard where Wagner was living in Cedar Rapids, authorities said.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Blahnik and Wagner face life in prison without the parole. Hoff, if convicted, faces up to seven years.

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

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