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Meskwaki Murder Case Moved to Federal Court

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Jonathan Youngbear's murder case has been moved to federal courts.

According to online court records, the state of Iowa has dismissed its case against the 20-year-ld member of the Meskwaki Settlement. In turn, a federal murder charge has been filed against Youngbear.

Youngbear is accused of killing 17-year-old Severn D. Jefferson at Youngbear's home at 1695 340th St. on the settlement on Feb. 24.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation reported that at 4:52 p.m. that day, the Tama County Communications Center took a 911 call.

The caller reported someone had been stabbed at 1695 340th St.
The Meskwaki Nation police, Tama County Sheriff's Office and Toledo police responded to the home and found Jefferson in the doorway of the southeast bedroom of the residence, according to the federal complaint. Officers saw a pool of blood from "apparent stab wounds to Jefferson's chest" and found a bloody knife inside the home, according to the complaint. Bloody foot impressions were also discovered in the snow outside of the residence, police said. Jefferson was declared dead at the scene.

The federal complaint states that police spoke with a witness who said they saw Youngbear stab Jefferson several times in the chest. Youngbear was interviewed at 12:15 a.m. Feb. 25 and confessed to killing Jefferson the day before, according to the federal complaint.

The DCI reported after the murder that Youngbear, Jefferson and others had been drinking and smoking meth for about a day and a half prior to Jefferson's death. At some point, Jefferson and Youngbear had an argument. A witness reported seeing Youngbear approach Jefferson from behind the couch and motion to the witness to be quiet.

Youngbear then stabbed Jefferson in the chest, the DCI said.

Jefferson's death was the second murder on the Meskwaki Settlement during the month of February. On Feb. 5, Gordon Lasley, Sr. and Kim Lasley were found dead, allegedly killed by their 25-year-old son, Gordon Lasley. Lasley's case was also moved to the federal court system.

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