Defense for Drew Blahnik pushes for new trial, claims juror bias

Drew Blahnik is escorted out of Linn County Court with his attorney after being convicted of...
Drew Blahnik is escorted out of Linn County Court with his attorney after being convicted of murdering Chris Bagley.(none)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The defense for convicted murderer Drew Blahnik is pushing for a new trial.

Blahnik was convicted of Second Degree Murder for killing Chris Bagley in July.

Bagley was stabbed to death at a mobile home belonging to Paul Hoff in 2018. His body was found a few months later buried in the yard of Drew Wagner in southeast Cedar Rapids.

Blahnik’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but it will instead be held on a motion for a new trial.

Court documents filed by the defense argue there were several errors during the trial. One of the errors listed includes “verdict-urging instruction.”

The defense argues the jury was urged to come to a verdict after they were at a reported standstill because one juror was holding out.

The jury deliberated for nearly two days in this case before coming to a verdict.

“The guilty verdict was the results not of deliberation but rather abdication,” the court document reads.

The defense is also arguing juror bias. They say one juror was an acquaintance of Blahnik and Bagley. Court documents allege the juror had told coworkers he, “knew those guys,” prior to the trial. This is despite denying familiarity with those involved in the case according to the defense.

The state has filed a resistance to the defense’s motion for a new trial. They argue an Allen charge was submitted to the jury as they were reportedly deadlocked.

The state says the language used in the Allen charge was “approved by Iowa appellate courts under similar circumstances,” according the court documents.

Prosecutors say the juror being questioned by the defense “fully disclosed he had heard very minimal information about the case through media accounts and that one of his employees has dated the brother of Christopher Bagley.”

If the motion for new trial Tuesday is denied, Blahnik’s sentencing will be rescheduled.

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