Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
TAMA, Iowa Federal trials for two men charged with first-degree murder on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County were reset last week to allow more time for discovery and to schedule expert witnesses.
Gordon Lasley Jr., 25, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing his parents, Gordon Lasley Sr. and Kim Lasley, with a machete in their home on the settlement Feb. 5, according to a criminal complaint.
Jonathan Curtis Youngbear, 20, charged with first-degree murder, is accused of fatally stabbing Severn D. Jefferson several times in his home on the settlement Feb. 24.
Lasley’s defense asked the court for more time to schedule expert witnesses. The trial has been reset to Dec. 8.
Youngbear’s defense asked the court for more time to conduct discovery and further investigation. Attorneys indicated the forensic reports might require independent expert analysis. The trial has been reset to Feb. 23, 2015.
According to a criminal complaint, Lasley's girlfriend, his older brother and his girlfriend told authorities Lasley Jr. had confessed to the homicides. Meskwaki Nation police officers said they found the bodies of the parents in their home and officers also located a machete lying on a couch with apparent blood on it.
According to testimony during a preliminary hearing, Youngbear’s cousin, Joseph Youngbear, told authorities Jonathan Youngbear and Jefferson got into an argument and Jonathan Youngbear stabbed Jefferson. They had been smoking methamphetamine and drinking that day and the day before, testimony indicates.
Jonathan Youngbear also confessed to authorities that he killed Jefferson, according to testimony. Jefferson was stabbed in the upper chest and neck area.
If convicted, both men face life in prison without parole.