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Waterloo Teen Faces First-Degree Murder Charges

CEDAR FALLS - Cedar Falls police arrested a Waterloo teenager today. They believe he fatally stabbed another teen.

i9-year-old Joseph Leo Johnson of Waterloo faces a first degree murder charge in the August 19th death of 18-year-old Treye Allan Blythe of Ackley. Both boys attended a party that night that got out of control.

A memorial of flowers rests beside the house where Blythe spent his final hours alive. On August 19th, this Ackley teenager was attending a birthday party that quickly spiraled out of control. Police say the trouble started with an argument.

"Joe Johnson had left after the verbal confrontation. He came back later, and when he came back, it turned into a physical confrontation at that point and he stabbed Treye," says Capt. Jeff Olson of the Cedar Falls Police Department.

Police say 19-year-old Joe Johnson didn't know Blythe or specifically target him that night. In fact, Blythe wasn't even a key player in the fight. The whole situation just got out of hand.

"There were quite a few people involved in the fight, some actually were engaged in it and some were trying to break it up," says Capt. Olson.

Neighbors say that kind of a scene is out of character for this area... a residential neighborhood that's sprinkled with businesses and sits only three blocks from the police station.

Even though Johnson has been a person of interest since the night of the stabbing, police didn't arrest the teenager right away. Officers initially picked him up for a parole violation.

"What we wanted to do was make sure we had a good solid case," says Capt. Olson.

And police are positive that's what they have.

Police say there will be no other charges or arrests in this case. In Iowa, a first-degree murder is punishable by a mandatory life sentence without parole. Johnson's preliminary hearing is set for September 18th.

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