Suspect Identified in Meskwaki Settlement Double Homicide

By Hayley Bruce & Dave Franzman, Reporters

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — The son of a couple killed on the Meskwaki settlement in Tama County has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with their deaths.

A release from the Tama County attorney's office put out late Thursday night said Gordon Lasley Jr, 25, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his parents Gordon Lasley Sr. and Kim Lasley.

The criminal complaint said Lasley Jr. told several family members he killed his mother and father with a machete at their home at 669 Meskwaki Road around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Lasley Jr. was located driving a car registered to his mother, Kim, after he told family members he killed his parents.

The complaint said Lasley Jr. had blood on his clothes and that there was blood inside the car from cuts on his hands. Tyler Lasley later found his parents dead in the basement of their home. The machete was was found on the living room couch and the complaint said the injuries appeared to have been caused by an edged weapon.

Meskwaki Nation Police officers were initially called to the scene of a homicide at the home on the settlement late Wednesday night.

A Thursday morning release from the settlement said Meskwaki police found the bodies of Gordon Lasley Sr. and Kim Lasley when they arrived on scene and the married couple appeared to be victims of a homicide. Their son, Gordon Lasley Jr., was brought into custody and Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera confirmed he was a suspect Thursday evening.

Lasley Jr. is being held at the Tama County jail on $2 million bond for two counts of first-degree murder.

He was taken into custody following a joint investigation involving the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, Tama County Sheriff's Office, Tama police department, Toledo police department and the FBI.

FBI Spokeswoman Sandy Breault said the FBI is assisting in the case, adding the FBI typically consults on serious crimes that happen on Indian land.

"Anything that's on any reservation or settlement there's a federal nexus to," Breault said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Pete Deegan said Thursday afternoon he would only confirm the incident is being investigated by both state and federal law enforcement. Deegan declined to comment on what jurisdiction the case will fall under, when that would be determined and whether there was any precedent for how an incident of this nature would be handled.

The release from the settlement said no other details of the homicide are being released until the investigation is complete.

"The Sac and Fox Tribe is a very close community and we are all shocked and saddened by this," Judith Bender, tribal chairwoman, said in a prepared statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and all of those who are affected by this horrific event."

Kevin Brezina, a Tama resident, said he had known Lasley Sr. for years.

"They were good parents, what I knew of them," Brezina said. "I was shocked that that could happen."

Online court records indicate Lasley Jr. has a criminal history that includes trespassing, interference with official acts, criminal mischief, intoxication, theft and assault causing bodily injury. The April 2013 assault charge is connected to an incident at an Iowa City bar in which a related Iowa City police complaint said Lasley Jr. was accused of punching a man in the face, breaking his tooth.

The complaint said a public defender would be appointed for Gordon Lasley, Jr., and a preliminary hearing was set for 9 a.m. Feb. 14.
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