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Graphic Day 5 of testimony wraps up in Blahnik murder trial

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Day five of testimony in the Drew Blahnik trial was graphic for those in the courtroom. The jury was shown images of Chris Bagley’s body the way it was found after it was dug out of Drew Wagner’s yard in southeast Cedar Rapids. They were also shown autopsy photos.

The day began with the jury watching the rest of the video of Blahnik’s initial interview with investigators. They watched more than three hours of the video Wednesday afternoon and continued it in it’s entirety Thursday. For the majority of the video, Blahnik denied having anything to do with Bagley’s death. Towards the end he began to confess to the stabbing, but said it was in self defense.

“Bagley reached for a gun,” Blahnik told investigators.

Blahnik said it was only after he saw Bagley reach for a gun that he jumped into the altercation between Bagley and Wagner and things turned fatal. When asked where the body was located, Blahnik did not give investigators a straight answer.

After the video was complete, Lieutenant Beuter remained on the stand. He told the jury investigators got surveillance video from the trailer park from one of the people who lived there and had 3 cameras installed. Based on the video, investigators believe the entire sequence of events inside the trailer that left Bagley dead, happened within a 10 minute time span.

More than two months after Bagley’s death investigators were able to locate his body under snow covered ground.

“We rented a ground warmer the funeral homes use in the winter time to heat the ground and be able to dig and bury a casket,” Beuter said.

When they started to search, investigators first noticed Bagley’s leg sticking out of the ground. They then left the ground warmer overnight and started digging again the next day.

Beuter was asked about searches that were done on properties belonging to Andy Shaw. Beuter said they found $19,000 cash at Shaw’s business as well as $39,000 cash at his home. They also found firearms and drugs.

After Beuter was dismissed, the prosecution called Dr. Kelly Kruse with the state medical examiner’s office. She did Bagley’s autopsy and was at Wagner’s home when his body was pulled from the ground. Dr. Kruse said Bagley was easily identifiable when he was found.

“Mr. Bagley did look like his driver’s license because he was well preserved despite the amount of time that went by,” she explained.

Dr. Kruse said holes in Bagley’s clothing correlated with the stab wounds seen on his body. The jury looked at images of Bagley’s body and Dr. Kruse pointed out the injuries that came with each wound. This included injuries to many of Bagley’s organs including his heart.

A mannequin was brought in wearing the clothes Bagley was wearing when he died. That included a T-shirt, a red bandana around the neck, and a black fanny pack around the waist. This helped Dr. Kruse explain why Bagley’s clothing had more holes in it than the number of stab wounds he had. For example, the fabric on his bandana was folded over so a single knife wound punctured it twice.

A toxicology report was run on blood from Bagley’s body.

“He had caffeine, he had nicotine, he had cotinine, which is a break down product of nicotine. He had methamphetamine, and he had amphetamine which is a break down product of methamphetamine,” Dr. Kruse explained.

The autopsy deemed Bagley’s cause of death as multiple sharp force injuries.

Court will resume Friday morning at 9.

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