Cedar Rapids Police make arrest in 2007 murder case

Cedar Rapids police believe they've solved a more than fifteen-year-old cold case murder.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 4:43 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:31 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Police have made an arrest in a nearly 16-year-old Cedar Rapids murder case.

Curtis Padgett, 42, is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2007 death of Dennis First. First, 64, was found dead in his apartment in the 2200 block of C St. SW on May 11th, 2007. His death was investigated as a homicide at the time, but no arrests were made. Investigators said Padgett killed First by beating, then stabbing or cutting him following an argument.

Padgett, of Cedar Rapids, was arrested Tuesday on harassment charges in an unrelated case in which officials said he threatened to burn down Geneva Tower, an apartment building in downtown Cedar Rapids.

On Wednesday, he was charged with killing First. Cedar Rapids Police said investigators had spent more than 15 years evaluating evidence in the case, leading to the arrest and charges. At the time of the murder, Cedar Rapids Police told KCRG-TV9 that they had collected DNA evidence at the scene that they believed would lead them to the killer.

In an interview shortly after the murder, Padgett, a neighbor of First, told The Gazette in a May 2007 interview that he sometimes rolled cigarettes for First and last saw him two days before his body was found. Pagett described First as “a good friend”.

The Gazette reported that five search warrants were executed at the time, including two searches of Pagett’s apartment and one involving Pagett himself. Pagett said that officers took his fingerprints and DNA as part of a search warrant. Investigators also took a pair of boots and other items.

Padgett is currently in custody at the Linn County Jail.

Padgett is also connected to another Cedar Rapids cold case in the 2001 disappearance of Erin Pospisil. Pospisil, then 15, was reported missing on June 3, 2001. She was last seen leaving her home with Padgett according to investigators. Padgett told police that he gave Pospisil a ride to a friend’s home in southeast Cedar Rapids. Padgett said that no one answered at the friend’s home and Pospisil then left in another vehicle that had pulled up to the home. She reportedly told Padgett that she would get a ride with the people in the car. No charges have been filed in her disappearance.