Fifty years in prison for attempted murder of three individuals

Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren
Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren
The Muscatine County Attorney provides reliable information about criminal cases taking place in the City of Muscatine.

Muscatine Living

Today, January 18, 2019, in Muscatine County District Court JUSTIN LEE DEWITT, 38, formerly of North Liberty was sentenced after being found guilty of three counts of attempt to commit murder. The Court imposed a total prison sentence of not to exceed 50 years. The Court ordered the sentence to be served consecutively to a 35-year prison sentence he received in Johnson County. The defendant will be required to serve a total of 52.5 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The arrest of DEWITT was the result of an investigation conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement – both divisions of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Evidence introduced at trial showed that DEWITT had been an inmate in the Muscatine County Jail after having been arrested in Johnson County, Iowa for seeking to arrange the murder of four individuals including two children. While an inmate DEWITT solicited another inmate to make arrangements to have three witnesses in his Johnson County case killed in order to prevent them from testifying. That other inmate reported the information to authorities who began an investigation.

During the investigation DEWITT spoke on two occasions with an individual whom he believed was an associate of a contract killer. The person was in fact an undercover Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement special agent. The conversations occurred over the Muscatine County Jail’s video visitation system. During the recorded conversations DEWITT identified the three people he wanted to be killed, identified the residence of two of the individuals and the motor vehicle of the third, and discussed the financial arrangements for the killings. DEWITT later made a phone call to an unwitting party seeking to have a down payment made for the killings. There was no evidence that the person DEWITT contacted was aware of the actual purpose for the payment of money which DEWITT sought. DEWITT also mailed the undercover agent a diagram of the residence of two of the individual he sought to have killed.

“The sentence imposed by the Court today truly was justice,” said Muscatine County Attorney Alan R. Ostergren. “Not only did the defendant want to kill three individuals he did so to interfere with the functioning of the criminal justice system. We go to court to settle our disputes peacefully – the fact that the offender sought to kill witnesses against him made this case particularly serious,” Ostergren added. 

DEWITT’s mugshot:

This content is provided by the Muscatine County Attorney’s office via their press releases, Blogspot and email notifications. It is not editorial content of Discover Muscatine and is passed along as news and community service of Discover Muscatine. Please direct any questions, comments or concerns to the Muscatine County Attorney’s office at (563)263-0382 or their website.

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