Robbery Suspect in Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Pleads Not Guilty

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A 22-year-old man accused of trying to rob two undercover narcotics agents during a drug deal that went awry and ended in a deadly shooting last month near Iowa City has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree robbery.

Demarco Dudley on Tuesday entered a written plea of not guilty to the class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

He is among three men who were arrested following the fatal shooting on Aug. 16 in the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park.

His brother, Norman Dudley, 20, and John Mulbah, 22, also were arrested on suspicion of felony controlled substance violations that authorities say took place days before the Aug. 16 incident.

Norman Dudley and Mulbah have not been charged in connection with the fatal shooting, but authorities say they believe both men were present, and Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said they could face additional charges.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the officer-involved shooting at Trailer C7 in the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park, although Lyness has determined that the shooting officer used reasonable force.

According to Lyness, two undercover agents with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement showed up at the trailer about 7 p.m. Aug. 16, and Ivan Hardemon, 24, met them outside. Once inside the trailer, two men emerged from the back, their faces covered and holding clubs or rods, according to Lyness.

Hardemon pulled a handgun, she reported, and he asked the masked men to pat down the two officers. Agent Daniel Stepleton had a gun tucked behind his back, and when one of the masked men found it, Stepleton leaned against the wall to keep him from removing it, according to Lyness.

Hardemon aimed his gun at Stepleton’s head, touching it to the barrel of his gun, Lyness reported. Stepleton tried to push the weapon away while reaching back for his own. Lyness said he fired four shots, hitting Hardemon in the chest and arm.

Demarco Dudley also was hit twice in the arm, according to Lyness.

Hardemon and the other men ran from the trailer and fled across the street to an empty lot, where Hardemon collapsed and died, Lyness said. Dudley made it away from the scene and was treated for his injuries at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Dudley is being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Mulbah is being held on a $52,500 and Norman Dudley is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Norman Dudley pleaded not guilty on Friday, and a judge set his trial for Nov. 6. Mulbah was scheduled to enter a plea Friday, but information on his case hasn’t been updated on the state’s online court database.

A trial date has not been set for Demarco Dudley.

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