Suspect In Meskwaki Double Homicide Appears In Federal Court
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A man accused of killing his parents with a machete on the Meskwaki Settlement last month appeared in court Monday and asked a federal magistrate for preliminary and detention hearing.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking a federal murder charge against Gordon Lasley Jr., 25, in the homicide of his parents, Gordon Lasley Sr. and Kim Lasley, that occurred in their home on the settlement Feb. 5.
Lasley, who appeared in an orange jumpsuit and in hand and leg shackles, through his attorney, asked the court for preliminary hearing to determine if there is probable cause for the charge. He didn't speak except to acknowledge that he understood the charge and proceedings.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Max Wolson also asked the court for a detention hearing.
U.S. Magistrate Jon Scoles set both hearings at noon Thursday in U.S. District Court. He also appointed Assistant Federal Public Defender Jill Johnston to represent Lasley.
The complaint filed Friday didn't specify what murder charge will go before the grand jury. Conviction of a federal first-degree murder is life in prison or death and a second-degree murder charge is life in prison.
If probable cause is found, a grand jury will then be convened for a possible indictment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Pete Deegan said after the hearing the two first-degree murder charges filed in Tama District Court were dismissed without prejudice Monday.
According to the complaint filed in federal court, Lasley told one of his brothers and his girlfriend that he killed his parents. Lasley was pulled over by Tama County Sheriff's deputies Feb. 6, in his mother's car. Lasley had blood on his hands and clothing. He also had cuts and lacerations on his left hand and scratches on his right hand.
Lasley's girlfriend told authorities she had been with Lasley and his parents in their home Feb. 5, but she left the home and then later received a call from Lasley, saying he killed his parents, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Meskwaki Nation Police officers found the bodies of the parents after one of their sons told police that Lasley Jr. admitted to killing them. Officers also located a machete lying on a couch with apparent blood on it.
Federal authorities have jurisdiction of this case because Lasley is a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Mississippi and the homicide occurred on the settlement.