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Homicide witness remains in jail

BY MARLEEN LINARES | DECEMBER 03, 2009 7:30 AM

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The material witness held in connection to the Southeast Side shooting that killed Cordova, Ill., resident John Versypt will stay in jail until trial or authorities no longer have concern about his whereabouts, police said.

Police filed an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Justin Alexander Marshall on Nov. 18 for allegedly having “information in his possession material to the offense,” according to court documents.

Marshall is being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $150,000 cash-only bond.

Police arrived at 1958 Broadway Building C at 4:08 p.m. on Oct. 8 and found 64-year-old Versypt’s body dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Officers found Versypt’s wallet and a gun near his body. Versypt was a landlord of the Broadway Condominiums and was there to check on the residence.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is testing evidence related to the crime that could provide more information, but Iowa City police Lt. Jim Steffen said he did not know when the results might be in.

“We’re hoping the results will help solve the crime,” he said, noting it is a possibility that Marshall could be directly involved with the homicide.

Police have yet to file any other charges in relation to the crime and have declined to say whether they have a suspect in custody.

According to reports, investigators spoke to Marshall, who lived at 1958 Broadway Apt. 5C, the night of the shooting. Marshall told police his whereabouts at the time of the slaying, but several statements were “proven to be incorrect through conversations with other witnesses.”

Through following conversations with Marshall, investigators found he changed his story about his knowledge of the shooting and where he was before and after the shooting, according to reports.

Marshall then agreed to take a polygraph test about the shooting, and officials “determined that he was being deceptive,” reports said.

Police said they decided to take Marshall into custody after receiving information that he was planning to leave the area.

Steffen said Marshall has not been questioned again since authorities placed him in custody but added police will be in contact with his attorney “at some point.”

Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness said holding a material witness is not very common and noted they usually are not in custody for “a very long period of time.”

Lyness declined to answer questions about Marshall’s case.

“I can’t discuss any details on the case specifically,” she said.

Though Marshall is in custody, Steffen said, the case is still ongoing.

“We’re still investigating and still trying to determine who was involved,” he said. “The people involved may or may not be in custody.”


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