Teenager arrested in Broadway killing


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Iowa City police arrested a 17-year-old in connection with the slaying of a landlord who was shot while tending to his property.

Charles William Curtis Thompson was charged Thursday with first-degree murder. Investigators said they believe Thompson had planned to rob John Versypt, the owner of an apartment building at 1958 Broadway, on Oct. 8, 2009.

Instead, he allegedly shot Versypt — who had come to Iowa City from Cordova, Ill., to install “No Smoking” and “No Loitering” signs — in the head.

Investigators don’t have an official address for Thompson, who apparently came to Iowa City from Holland, Mich., in the summer of 2008, but he had been staying with his girlfriend’s mother in the same building the crime occurred in, said Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said patrol units in the area and the Street Crimes Team are familiar with Thompson.

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Thompson made an initial appearance at the Johnson County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon.

Dressed in a tan jumpsuit and a jean jacket, he studied the arrest notice he held in handcuffed hands.
Looking directly at the judge when the judge addressed him, Thompson’s only comment was a soft, “No, your honor.”

Thompson has been in the Cedar County Jail since November 2009 on drug charges while investigators waited on various lab tests.

Police said Thompson was seen wearing clothes consistent with the description of one of the people fleeing the area, and several witnesses identified Thompson as one of the people involved. Several individuals reported Thompson had been seen with a gun believed to be the same one found at the scene.

The only other person being identified in connection with the case is Justin Marshall, 19, who has been held since November 2009 as a material witness.

Lyness had no comment on how Thompson’s arrest will affect Marshall’s case.

In Iowa, 16- and 17-year-olds charged with forcible felonies are charged as adults. Thompson could file a motion to move his case to juvenile court, but a judge granting such a request is unlikely, Lyness said.

Sue Freeman, the director of the Broadway Center, said the majority of the neighborhood believed Thompson was responsible and cooperated with police to help solve the case.

“Folks were not surprised,” she said. “They’re happy that it’s public. It’s certainly something families would like to have resolution on.”

Several residents of the 1958 Broadway condominiums agreed. But some said they were afraid the homicide would leave a stain on what they characterized as a relatively safe community.

“This is really the only terrible incident we’ve dealt with since I’ve been here,” said David Sabotta, 21, who has lived in the apartments for more than a year. “I don’t think anyone is surprised about the charge, however, and I’ve been pleased with the increased security presence since October.”

Janet Versypt, John Versypt’s wife, doesn’t know yet whether she will come to Iowa City for the trial, but she said she is thrilled with the arrest.

“It’s been hard waiting all these months,” she said haltingly.

Thompson is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22. He is being held on a $1 million bond.

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