Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2013, 6:14 pm
Snow cancels Versypt trial Wednesday
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By Vanessa Miller, The Gazette
Testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Justin Marshall, accused in the fatal shooting of a landlord in Iowa City in October 2009, was delayed on Wednesday because of snow.
Judge Sean McPartland decided to cancel proceedings before 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, letting the 16 jurors avoid the roads if they needed to travel.
The trial is expected to resume today.
Wednesday's delay marks the second time this week testimony has been canceled for an entire day. The stoppages likely will mean the trial will go beyond its original two-week time frame.
Attorneys on Monday spent the entire day discussing and investigating new information that came to light during the weekend from two key witnesses – James Brown and Rhonda Bluitt, neighbors of Marshall and his co-defendant Charles Thompson in the Broadway Condominium complex.
According to police, John Versypt, of Cordova, was a landlord for units in the south Iowa City complex and was checking on them when he was fatally shot during an attempted robbery on Oct. 8, 2009.
Mr. Thompson, 20, was the first person arrested in the case in February 2010, followed by Mr. Marshall, 22, in July 2011 and Courtney White, 25, in October 2011.
All three originally were charged with first-degree murder. But Mr. Thompson's trial, the first of the three, ended in a mistrial when prosecutors inadvertently presented evidence that was inadmissible. Afterthe trial, Mr. Thompson agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his promise to testify against Marshall. He has not yet taken the stand in Mr. Marshall's trial.
If convicted on the murder charge, both Marshall and White could face life in prison.