WASHINGTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A 64-year-old man in Washington faces a charge of 1st degree murder in a stabbing death. And investigators say the victim was his 70-year-old roommate.
A criminal complaint says a caretaker found the body of Ed Jones at his apartment early Wednesday. He had a stab wound to the chest and was found sitting in a chair.
Later that night, authorities arrested Clarence Dean Pedersen for his death.
Under questioning, Pedersen admitted owned a knife like the one investigators found. Police found blood on his shirt and two hand written notes in a lockbox belonging to the defendant.
One note said "kill Ed." The other said "kill yourself--suicide."
A day after the discovery, friends of the victim like Michelle Goodwin were still in shock.
"He looked forward to holidays. If he knew were grilling out or having dinner for a holiday at 4:00 in the afternoon, Ed was over here at 8:30 in the morning," she said.
A group of friends called themselves the victim's "adopted family." They described how he began stopping by two or three times a week for more than 20 years.
Friends say they knew he didn't like living with his roommate Clarence Pedersen, whom they knew as "Deano." But all they knew was the two would argue but it never turned physical.
Jeff Wheeler, another close friend of the victim, says what friends didn't know was Clarence Pedersen was a convicted murderer who served 25 years in prison before his release.
Wheeler says if friends had known, they would have insisted Jones move out of the shared living arrangements.
"If I would have known that I guarantee you he would have been at my house. That's how much I cared for him," Wheeler said.
Iowa Department of Corrections records show Pedersen was convicted of 1st degree murder in western Iowa and began serving his sentence in 1979. He had the charge reduced to 2nd degree murder in 1997
Pedersen was released in 2004 after serving his full sentence for the crime.
The defendant made an initial appearance on Thursday morning in the new murder case and bond was set at $1-million dollars cash.
Authorities say Clarence Pedersen, 64, from Washington, was taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant for Murder in the First Degree around 10 p.m. July 11.
Earlier in the day, Washington police responded to an apartment complex regarding a suspicious death.
Authorities found Ed Jones, 70, in the apartment with what seemed to be a stab wound to the upper torso.
Pedersen, Jones' roommate, was interviewed as part of the investigation. Pedersen confirmed he owned a knife similar to the one found at the crime scene. Authorities also say they found a handwritten note that said "Kill Ed." They also found another note that said "Kill Yourself Suicide."
Pedersen is currently being held on a $1,000,000 cash-only bond in the Washington County Jail and is scheduled to make an appearance on July 12.
First Degree Murder is a Class A felony and carries a mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
This investigation is being done by the Washington Police Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
Pedersen was previously charged with Second Degree Murder regarding the death of his brother-in-law in 1978.
The charge in the 1978 case was originally First Degree Murder, but after an appeal by the Supreme Court of Iowa that reprimanded the case back to the district court, Pedersen was given a lesser charge due to competency issues.
Washington police responded to a 9-1-1 call at 7:56 a.m. on July 11 regarding a suspicious death in an apartment complex on the 600 block of West Adams Street in Washington.
Soon after, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was called to assist with the investigation.
Authorities have identified the man that died as Ed E. Jones, 70, of Washington. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the manner of death.