Part Four: Newspaper Articles


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Feb 14, 1971

Perry Henry Harris, 23, was arrested at 8:01 p.m. Saturday on a charge of murdering Ernest Lee Jordan, 37, of 717 Ninth avenue SE, Saturday afternoon in Cedar Rapids. Police Chief George Matias said Harris had given his address as 901 Fifth street SE when he was arrested Jan. 14 on a charge of larceny. Matias said Jordan died of a small caliber bullet wound at 5:32 p.m. while undergoing surgery at Mercy Hospital. The victim was taken to the hospital after a call for an ambulance was received about 4:45 p.m. The caller said a man had been shot at 1613 Twelfth avenue SE.

Matias said preliminary information indicated the bullet entered Jordan in the right chest, went through the heart and lodged in the spine, causing him to bleed to death. An autopsy was being performed. About 7:30 p.m. Saturday Matias announced his department was looking for Harris. He warned that Harris was believed armed with a long barreled, small caliber revolver and should be considered dangerous. However the chief said Harris was arrested without resistance by police officers. Harris was in a car in the 300 block of Ninth avenue SE when he was arrested. A statewide alert had been issued late Saturday afternoon for Harris and for a car he was believed to be driving.

Harris was taken to the police station for questioning and asked for an attorney to represent him. The chief declined to comment on the circumstances of the shooting, except to say there were witnesses. He did not specify who they were or how many there were. He also would not discuss the motive for the shooting.

The warrant for the arrest of Harris was issued by Cedar Rapids Municipal Court Judge August F. Honsell, jr., after County Attorney William Faches signed an information charging the defendant with murder. No degree was specified. It was Harris’ third arrest in Cedar Rapids in less than two months.

Harris’ larceny arrest in January came as a result of an investigation into minor injuries received by a Cedar Rapids woman and a Waterloo man who said they were struck in the ankles and legs by shotgun pellets after leaving Harris’ residence. They said they had gone there to inquire about a quantity of woman’s clothing thought to be in Harris’ possession. Detectives said they confiscated a 4.10 pump shotgun and some shells during the investigation, but no charges related to the shooting were filed.

Harris was also arrested in December and charged with robbery with aggravation in connection with an incident involving a Viola man. The man, Edwin Hartin, said four men robbed him of $35 after a minor traffic accident at Twelfth avenue and Seventh street SE. County jail records show that Harris was released on his own recognizance by Municipal Judge John Reilly on Dec 23. He was released on posting an unspecified bond Jan 20, according to the records. No bond was set on the murder charge

Jordan, a resident of Cedar Rapids the last two years and a former employee of Quaker Oats, was born Oct. 12, 1933, and was married to Cornelia Ellsworth July 22, 1968, in Cedar Rapids. He was a veteran of World war II and a member of Bethel A.M.E. church. Surviving in addition to his wife are a son, Ernest L. Jordan, jr., at home; two brothers, Clark and Shelby Louis Jordan, both of East St. Louis; three sisters, Norvella Martin and Mary Alice Jordan, both of East St. Louis, and Pearlie Mae Sargent of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clark Jordan, also of East St. Louis. Services are pending at Turner chapel east.

Ernie Jordan and Perry Harris


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Aug 25, 1965

INDIANOLA (UPI)—Grand larceny charges were pressed against two men and a woman Tuesday suspected of stealing $200 from a Belmond service station. The charges were filed by Wright county authorities against Kendrick Woodson, 36; Ernest Jordan, 31, both of Minneapolis, and Merle L. Brewster, 21, Kansas City. Authorities said charges were filed on information furnished by the service station attendant. The attendant said the three ddrove into the station to purchase gasoline. While one of the group kept the attendant busy, the other two allegedly ransacked the office, stealing about $200. The three were arrested by Indianola authorities about 10:30 p.m. after the service station attendant furnished police with the license number of their automobile.


Wright County Monitor—Aug 26, 1965

Kendrick Woodson… Ernest Jordan… and Merle Brewster… were returned to Clarion on a larceny charge Tuesday in connection with a service station robbery at the Meints 66 Station in Belmond. The three had driven into the station at about 6:25 Monday evening, and inquired as to a place to eat. After purchasing a quart of oil, they left in their 1965 Chevrolet convertible, white over blue with Minnesota license plates. About $200 was discovered missing from the station later. The three were picked up at Locust, Iowa, about 10 o’clock Monday evening and were held at Indianola until Wright County authorities returned them to Clarion Tuesday on the charge of larceny of over $20. At the preliminary hearing bond was set for each at $2500 by J.P. Ross Stanbery. No bond was posted. They were bound over to the Grand Jury.


Wright County Monitor—Sept 2, 1965

Filing of the first writ of habeas corpus to be used in Wright County in a number of years resulted in a daylong session of court here Saturday, with Judge Harvey Uhlenhoppe, Hampton, presiding. At the conclusion of the hours of court testimony and procedure, the Judge ruled that Wright County authorities had sufficient evidence—though thin—to hold two men and a woman for appearance before the grand jury in connection with a robbery at a Belmond service station last Monday evening. Returned to Wright County jail on $2,500 bond each, were Ernest Jordan, 32, and Kendrick Woodson, 36, both of Minneapolis, and Miss Merle Brewster, in her twenties, of Kansas City, Mo.

Arrest of the three grew out of suspicions of Royce Van Gerpen, attendant at the oil station in Belmond at which the trio stopped, asked for information as to a good place to eat and bought a quart of oil which was placed unopened on the floor of their 1965 convertible car. After they left he jotted down the license number of the Minnesota car, and 20 to 30 minutes later, when $200 was discovered missing, descriptions were given authorities and broadcast over the state police radio…

The plaintiff’s attorney, Ben V. Willie of Eagle Grove filed the writ of habeas corpus which resulted in the hearing Saturday at which he repeatedly pointed to legal irregularities and insufficient, if not non-existent, evidence for arrest. County Attorney Dewayne Knoshaug in his summation, pointed out that this was a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold the three for the grand jury, and does not determine guilt or innocence. Judge Uhlenhopp also stated that this was not the occasion for an indictment, and although he conceded that “It’s a very thin case,” ruled that the writ of habeas corpus be annulled, costs be charged to the plaintiffs, and that the latter be returned to jail.


Globe Gazette—Sept 23, 1965

BELMOND—A Wright County Grand Jury at Clarion on Wednesday morning returned indictments against three suspects who were arrested Aug 23 and charged with a $200 robbery committed earlier the same day in Belmond. Kendrick Woodson… Ernest Jordan… and a feminine companion, Merle Brewster… have been held in the county jail at Clarion since return there the day following their arrest…

Their actions while obtaining service at Meints Phillips 66 station… about 6 p.m. … aroused the suspicion of an attendant… He jotted down the license number of their blue-and-white convertible as it left. [The attendant] summoned Proprietor Bill Meints, who found that $200 in bills had disappeared from a bank pouch that had been placed in a desk drawer in the office. When bound over to the grand jury on charges of larceny in the amount of more than $20, the bond of each of the defendants was set at $2,500, which none has been able to post.


Wright County Monitor—Mar 10, 1966

Ernest Jordan… was sentenced by District Judge Ed Kelly Monday to five years in the Men’s Reformatory at Anamosa on a charge of receiving stolen property. Authorities said the charge grew out of a case last October when a woman companion took $200 from the Meints service station cash register at Belmond while Jordan and another man were having their car serviced. Jordan was released on $2,500 bond last fall and subsequently failed to appear during the November term of court. He was returned here last month from California. The woman has been sentenced to the Women’s Reformatory at Rockwell City on a theft charge. The man with her and Jordan was acquitted.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 12, 1969

Cornelia A. Ellsworth and Ernest L. Jordan, both of Cedar Rapids…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—May 11, 1969

A Cedar Rapids man was being held in the city jail Saturday night under a total of $3110 bond on charges of the state narcotics act, discharging firearms within the city limits and resisting arrest. Perry Harris, 21… was arrested early Saturday evening on the charges stemming from a shooting incident Friday evening in the 800 block of Twelfth avenue SE. Police said he fired a 12 gauge shotgun into the ground at that location. A quantity of narcotic drugs, they said, was found in Harris’ possession at the time of arrest. Harris was arrested last month on a charge of assault with intent to inflict great bodily harm.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—May 28, 1969

A charge of violation of the state narcotics act has been dropped against Perry Harris… Municipal Judge Loren M. Hullinger, jr., ruled the charge dismissed because of insufficient evidence.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Jul 26, 1970

Perry Henry Harris, 22, of 1013 Seventh street SE, was arrested [yesterday] on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was accused of contributing to the delinquency of a 15-year-old girl Friday night. Harris was released after posting bond. The $500 bond was set by Glenn Powers, Bertram township justice of the peace.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Aug 7, 1970

Perry Harris, 1013 Seventh street SE; fined $25 and costs.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Sept 10, 1970

Perry Harris, 1013 Seventh street SE, will have a hearing Nov. 3. He was charged with larceny in the nighttime after several coin machines were broken into at a gas station last week.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Sept 11, 1970

Ernest Jordan, 717 Ninth Avenue SE, was bound over to Linn district court late Thursday on a charge of larceny in the nighttime. Jordan allegedly was involved in the theft of several dollars from a gasoline station’s coin machines last week.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Dec 9, 1970

Perry Harris, 901 Fifth street SE; fined $10 and costs.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Dec 30, 1970

Perry Harris, 23, of 901 Fifth street SE, was bound over to the grand jury on a charge of robbery with aggravation following a preliminary hearing Tuesday in municipal court. He is charged with taking a wallet belonging to Edwin Hart, 28, of Viola. Hart said he was involved in an accident Dec. 18 at Twelfth avenue and Seventh street SE. He said a car backed out of a driveway and hit his. Hart said he got out of his car to talk to the driver and one of the men in the car got out and struck him and knocked him down. He said three other men then got out and started beating him. His wallet was taken during the beating. It was later recovered.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Feb 03, 1971

Perry Harris… appeared in municipal court Tuesday and demanded a preliminary hearing on a charge of larceny. His hearing is set for May 21. He is charged with taking clothing belonging to Robert Cage and Blanche Jackson  Jan 12. He is free after posting ten percent of $1500 bond.

810 Fifth Street, 363-0294,  Edgar L. King, King Manor


October 1, 1958

Keyes AlvinG 615 M N B Bldg King Edgar L 220 Dows Bldg Koch Keith D 217 Guaranty Bldg…W 332 Higley Bldg 220 Dows Bldg Moon Kenneth L 221 Dows Bldg Mover Allen Av Marion Moyer Clinton H Av…Av Marion Nassif Michael G Av SE Nathanson Maurice L 221 Dows Bldg Nazette Richard F Court House Neff Robert W…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Jan 24, 1963

New Officers—Elected were: Edgar King, president… Heard but not acted upon (no action was asked) was a petition from Cedar Christian church that the council, along with several other named groups: “…do all in its power to prevent any legislation that would create anything like the open saloon” and to bring about enforcement of the present state liquor law.        

Cedar Rapids Gazette March 29, 1964

Cedar Rapids Gazette April 9, 1968

Cedar Rapids Gazette April 20, 1968

Cedar Rapids Gazette May 9, 1968

Cedar Rapids Gazette January 11, 1970

Cedar Rapids Gazette April 10, 1970

Cedar Rapids Gazette August 17, 1970

Cedar Rapids Gazette August 17, 1970

Cedar Rapids Gazette September 24, 1970

Cedar Rapids Gazette March 14, 1971

Cedar Rapids Gazette May 14, 1971

Corby and Rachel Powell


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Oct 24, 1971

Nuptial vows were exchanged Saturday in Salem United Methodist church between Rachel Lea Powell… and Richard William Logemann II… Parents of the bride are Mrs. Ronald Ives of Waterloo and Keith Powell, Cedar Rapids. The bride chose a street-length dress with a brown crepe bodice and a tan corduroy skirt. A brown lace headpiece accented with matching velvet ribbon completed her ensemble and her flowers were white mums centered with a yellow rosebud. Miss Corby Powell attended her sister as maid of honor attired in a brown street-length dress. She carried a single bronze mum…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 18, 1972

A Cedar Rapids man and another from Central City were killed about 4:30 p.m. Friday when their autos collided head-on on Highway 30, three miles east of its intersection with the Ely road. Killed were Keith Dever Powell, 37, of Cedar Rapids and Nile Richard Mentzer, 35, of Central City. The highway patrol said Powell was westbound on the highway when his car apparently veered over the center line, striking the Mentzer vehicle head-on. Both were alone in their vehicles.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 19, 1972

Keith D. Powell, 36… who died of injuries sustained in a head-on crash on highway 30 Friday, was born on Dec 9, 1935, at Shell Rock. He had been employed at the Duane Arnold Nuclear Energy Center near Palo. Surviving are two sons, Kirk… and Bret; six daughters, Mrs. Richard Logemann and Corby, Theresa… Julie… Karry and Jody Powell… Funeral arrangements are pending at the Parrott and Wood funeral home in Waterloo.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 7, 1972

Corby Powell… told police a television set and a stereo set valued at $550 were stolen from her home Monday night or Tuesday morning.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 10, 1972

Corby Powell… reported a coat valued at $160 was stolen from her home Thursday.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Dec 29, 1972

Two Cedar Rapids women were being held in Linn county jail Friday on $2,110 bond each after they were arrested Thursday and charged with larceny and forgery. Rachel Logemann, 19, and Corby Powell, 18, both of 622 Eleventh avenue SE, were arrested Thursday night in connection with the theft of six cartons of cigarettes valued at $23 from the Hy-Vee, 2711 Mt. Vernon road SE, on Thursday. They were also arrested in connection with the forging of an undetermined number of checks belonging to Bettina McCray… Miss McCray reported her checks missing Sept. 14.

Perry Henry Harris


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Feb 15, 1971

Perry Henry Harris, 23, of 901 Fifth street SE, was arraigned in municipal court Sunday before Judge August F. Honsell, jr., and given until 2 p.m. Wednesday to move, plead or demand a preliminary hearing. Harris is charged with the murder of Ernest Lee Jordan, 37, of 717 Ninth avenue SE, Saturday afternoon. He was apprehended that night. Gerald Fatka was appointed defense attorney by the court, and bond was set at $100,000.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Feb 18, 1971

Perry H. Harris… demanded a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon on an open charge of murder. The hearing was set for 3 p.m. Feb. 25. Bond was continued at $100,000 and Harris was returned to Linn county jail…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Feb 25, 1971

Perry Harris… who was scheduled to appear in municipal court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on a charge of murder, has requested a continuance. The continuance was granted by Judge August F. Honsell, jr., because Gerald Fatka, who was appointed to represent Harris, withdrew from the case and Paul Kinion was appointed in his place. The preliminary hearing now is set for March 9 at 2 p.m.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 10, 1971

Perry Henry Harris… was bound over to the grand jury Tuesday afternoon following a preliminary hearing in municipal court on a charge of murder… Judge Loren Hullinger, jr., bound Harris over to the grand jury after hearing testimony from two state’s witness and three defense witnesses. There was testimony that Harris and Jordan had been involved in a dispute concerning a game of cards being played. A report from the medical examiner was introduced, showing that Jordan died of a massive internal bleeding and confirming reports that the bullet passed through Jordan’s heart and lodged in the backbone.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Apr 3, 1971

A motion for a reduction in bond by attorneys for Perry Harris, charged with murder, was denied Friday in Linn district court. The motion stated in part that the $100,000 bond which currently holds Harris in Linn district jail was excessive and that there was good reason to believe a reduction in bond would not jeopardize the chance of bringing Harris in trial. Judge Robert Osmundson denied the motion and Harris… remains in custody.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Apr 19, 1971

Two Cedar Rapids men have had trials set after pleading innocent in unrelated cases… Perry Harris… pled innocent to a charge of murder… Trial was scheduled for June 1…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Jun 1, 1971

Attorneys in the Perry H. Harris murder trial hinted Tuesday that the defense would rely on the theory that the Feb. 13 shooting of Ernest Lee Jordan was an accident and therefore not murder. The hints arose in questions asked of prospective jurors. Questioning of the jurors began Tuesday morning. The case is being tried in Linn District court before Judge Harold Vietor… The county attorney told prospective jurors Tuesday the state does not know what the defense plans to present in the trial, “but we have an idea they may say it was an accidental shooting.” A defense attorney told  the jurors that the burden would be on the state to show that the shooting was not an accident, that the defense would not have to prove that it was an accident.

He asked jurors whether they would be more inclined to consider the defendant guilty because he was black. The county attorney told those on the jury panel that the trial might last a week and might go into next week or even the following week. He asked the panel members whether they felt a man would be justified in killing another in the heat of an argument.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Jun 2, 1971

Two police officers testified Wednesday in the Perry Harris murder trial that Ernest Jordan told them before he died that Harris was the one who shot him. The officers said they spoke with Jordan in front of the house where the shooting took place. Under cross-examination, however, the two acknowledged Jordan did not say anything about Harris trying to kill him or giving any motive for a deliberate shooting. The two were among the first witnesses called by the state following opening statements Wednesday morning.

In the opening statements a defense attorney confirmed that the defense will rely on the theory that the shooting was an accident and therefore not a murder.

He also said the defendant will take the stand in his own behalf and will call other witnesses to testify for him. Neither side went into detail on what they expected the witnesses to present in their testimony. The county attorney’s opening statement primarily asked the jury to pay attention to the defendant’s reactions following the shooting—his actions and his words—in evaluating whether the shooting was deliberate, willful and premeditated. These are the three elements in addition to malice aforethought, necessary to prove first-degree murder.

Other witnesses called to testify Wednesday included two doctors who attended the 37-year-old Jordan at Mercy hospital following the shooting at 1613 Twelfth avenue SE on Feb. 13.

One of them testified that Jordan had no pulse when he was taken into the operating room for surgery. He said Jordan had two holes through is heart and that X-rays indicated the bullet, apparently a .22 cal., had lodged behind the heart at the spine.

The police officers testified they found Jordan outside the house leaning over the hood of a car. An ambulance took him to the hospital. Under cross-examination, a detective said he did not find a gun or spent shell or a card table during a partial search of the house. Authorities have said the shooting took place following a quarrel during a card game…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—June 3, 1971

The state rested its case Thursday noon in the Perry Harris murder trial and testimony for the defense was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. The state’s case during the morning was marked by two men refusing to testify on whether they were at the scene of the shooting and other questions on the grounds that their testimony might tend to incriminate them. Those who invoked the Fifth Amendment right were Dr. Thomas Sturgeon and James Lehman. Previous testimony had indicated that Sturgeon and another white man, unidentified, had been on the scene.

During the morning, Eugene Williams, jr., testified that Harris had come to Williams’ southeast Cedar Rapids residence in the evening of the day in which the shooting took place. The shooting had been in the afternoon. He said Harris gave him about $80 about 8 p.m. and said, “I smoke Winston cigarettes.” He said he did not know what this meant, but that Harris previously had given money for him to keep. About 9 p.m. Harris’ sister came and got the money, Williams said. He said he asked Harris whether he had shot Ernest Jordan, and Harris replied that he had not and said he was not going to run from police.

Ernest Gibson testified he heard a shot, saw Jordan fall down and then looked up and saw a pistol in Harris’ hand above Gibson’s left shoulder.

Final witnesses were Police Officers Donald Potter and Richard Brown, who said they arrested Harris shortly after he left the Cougar lounge the evening of the shooting. They said Harris’ sister shouted, as Potter approached with his gun in hand:  “Don’t shoot. He does not have a gun.” Under cross-examination they said Harris gave no resistance and did not attempt to run.

They said they found no weapons on him or in the car he was entering at the time of his arrest.

The first evidence pertaining to a motive in the shooting was presented Wednesday afternoon. The evidence came in the form of testimony from two persons who were at the scene of the shooting… They were Prentis Thurmond, owner of the house where the shooting took place, and John H. Williams, who said he arrived on the scene while Jordan and Harris were “having words.”

The dispute started when Harris asked Jordan why he had picked up a hand that Harris apparently thought was a winning hand, according to Thurmond. He also said Harris apparently had lost all his money and had borrowed $20 from Dr. Thomas Sturgeon to stay in the game. Jordan and Harris “sparred around” in the next room after they argued, according to Thurmond. He acknowledged under cross-examination, however, that they were “clowning around” and that he had never seen them fight before although they were friends and often seen together.

Williams said he saw Jordan spraying Harris with something from a container during the incident and that as Harris left the house he said something to the effect, “That’s all right, you got me this time.”

Harris came back later and was standing behind a man sitting across the table from Jordan, the two testified. Thurmond said he heard a shot and then looked and saw the pistol in Harris’ hand. Under cross-examination he said the gun was pointing up and that Harris was the only one in the room that he saw with a gun.

Williams said he heard the shot while he was in the next room, leaving the house, and that he did not see Harris with the gun but did see the barrel at the location where Harris had been. He said he then heard Harris’ brother Roy saying, “Don’t shoot no more.” As the two Harris’ were leaving, Williams said, he heard Perry asking Roy, “Did you get the money (that had been on the card table)?”

In cross-examining Williams, a defense attorney pointed out that in a preliminary hearing Williams had said he thought the voice was Perry Harris’, but that he could not swear to it. Cross-examination of both witnesses brought out that they had not heard Harris make any threats against Jordan…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—June 7, 1971

Much time was spent in closing arguments in the Perry Harris murder case Monday on the question of whether an “argument” between Harris and the deceased Earnest Jordan was real or only faked. The question about the argument is important to the case, both sides pointed out, because malice is an essential element to prove that a murder was committed.

Iowa law provides that where a deadly weapon is used in a killing, there is a presumption of malice, but this presumption may be overcome by evidence.

Harris took the stand during the trial to overcome that presumption by saying the Feb. 13 shooting took place accidentally during a fake dispute with Jordan.

He said the dispute was part of a plan proposed by Jordan to swindle $500 out of another man on the scene, in the expectation that the man would offer to pay off an alleged debt owed by Jordan to Harris. The county attorney argued Monday that the dispute was shown to be real by testimony which indicated that some persons at the scene were afraid that furniture might be harmed by the scuffling. The defense countered, however, that if Jordan, known as Big Man, had wanted to, he could have “wrapped Harris around his little finger.”

The state argued that the accident theory was unbelievable because there was no evidence to show how the trigger was set off by accident, such as by bumping against something. The defendant had testified that the gun went off while lifting it up from his side. The defense argued that nobody knows what made the gun go off.

The state argued that Harris’ story was belied by the fact Harris went to get the gun after the first part of the alleged fake argument. If the gun threat was part of the swindle plot, the county attorney contended, Harris would have had the gun with him from the beginning.

He also asked why the defense did not call witnesses to corroborate Harris’ testimony that he had told some people that he was going to turn himself in, and that he had not said anything to his brother, Roy, about getting money from a card table. The defense countered that the state could have called these persons as rebuttal witnesses if the county attorney thought the testimony would have gone counter to Harris’ statement.

If there were any anger of persons on the scene reacting with deadly weapons to the showing of a gun, as Harris testified, why was the plot undertaken at all, the county attorney asked. The defense argued that testimony that there were no angry words after Harris returned showed that he did not display the anger of malice, but was cool and calm.

Defense attorneys argued against a first-degree conviction, saying that Harris had ample opportunity to fire additional shots as Jordan was leaving the scene and it was not obvious that Jordan had suffered a fatal wound.

The jury was to hear the state’s rebuttal arguments and the court’s instructions before retiring to deliberate Monday afternoon.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—June 8, 1971

A Linn district court jury of seven women and five men returned a verdict Monday night declaring Perry H. Harris guilty of murder in the second degree. The jury, which received the case in mid-afternoon, notified the court at about 10 p.m. that it had reached a verdict. Judge Harold Vietor has set July 9 at 2:30 p.m. for sentencing. He may order Harris imprisoned for a term ranging from ten years to life.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—July 10, 1971

Perry Harris was sentenced Friday to serve 40 years in the penitentiary at Ft. Madison on his jury conviction last month of murder in the second degree. Linn District Judge Harold Vietor imposed the sentence. He could have ordered a term ranging from ten years to life… In a statement before sentence was imposed the county attorney called for a “very severe” sentence, contending the defendant was shown by his history to be a violent person. He said the case came close to being first-degree murder in being done during the commission of a felony, a reference to the purported swindle attempt. He said he found nothing in a pre-sentence investigation prepared by the parole board to indicate any mitigating circumstances.

A defense attorney said he did not deny the violent past, but said the main question to be considered is the possibility of rehabilitation. He said persons at the prison feel that long sentences hinder rehabilitation.

Willie Love


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 5, 1971

Willie B. Love, 27, Fort Dodge, was arrested Wednesday in Algona and returned to Cedar Rapids to face charges of larceny and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Love appeared in municipal court before Judge John B. Reilly Friday and was given until next Thursday to waive or demand a preliminary hearing on both counts. Bond was set at $2,500 on the larceny count and $300 on the contributing charge. He was being held in Linn county jail in lieu of bond. Love is accused of stealing an ADC check for $151 from Melinda Love, 512 McKinley street SE, his estranged wife. He also is accused of failing to support a minor child.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 11, 1971

Willie B. Love… appeared in municipal court Thursday on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and larceny. Love pled innocent to the contributing charge and his trial is set for the next jury assignment. He is charged with failure to support a minor child. He demanded a preliminary hearing on the larceny count and the hearing is set for April 2 at 3 p.m. He is accused of taking a check for more than $20 belonging to Melinda Love on Jan. 5.

Irvin Johnson, Rosetta Harris


Waterloo Sunday Courier—Apr 18, 1965

Twenty-two year old Irvin Johnson was charged with assault with intent to commit murder after he reportedly choked a young woman at Schoitz Hospital, where he was a patient yesterday. The attack occurred at 5:30 p.m. Johnson of 736 Cottage St. was taken for observation to the State Mental Health Institute at Independence following the episode.

A patient at the hospital, Johnson became angry at Miss Magdalene Gardner, 24, who had come to visit him. Police said that when she started to leave Johnson attacked her and choked her. Johnson recently underwent a bone fusion operation on his back. She was found on the floor by a nurse when the nurse entered the room

Miss Gardner, also of 736 Cottage St., was hospitalized and reported in fair condition. The charge was filed by County Attorney D. Quinn Martin.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Apr 19, 1965

A 24-year-old woman who police said was choked by a hospital patient she was visiting Saturday afternoon was reported in good condition Monday at Scholtz Memorial hospital. The woman, Magdalene Gardner… was choked by bed-ridden Irvin Johnson… when she was visiting him at his room Saturday, police said. A hospital spokesman said the woman, who was unconscious when found on the floor of Johnson’s room by a nurse, was scheduled to be released Monday.

Johnson was charged with assault with intent to commit murder and arraigned in his hospital room Sunday. Police have maintained a vigil at his room since the alleged attack on Miss Gardner.

According to officers, Miss Gardner, Johnson’s wife, and another woman visited Johnson Saturday afternoon. They said the other two women were asked to leave the room by Johnson and that Miss Gardner stayed to talk with him. Johnson recently had a back operation.


Waterloo Daily Courier—June 30, 1965

A man who is a defendant in a pending District Court case for choking a woman in a hospital was in custody again Wednesday for beating a man with a pistol. Police said they arrested Irvin Johnson, 23… Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging assault with intent to do great bodily injury. He had been held by police at Independence on a driving violation.

Johnson was being held in city jail in lieu of $1,000 bond. He appeared in Municipal Court Wednesday on the charge and was given time to consult an attorney. Police said the case stems from a complaint by Walter Jones… that Johnson attacked him June 10 while he was at Jimmy Hunt’s Lounge… Jones states Johnson beat him over the head with a pistol…


Waterloo Daily Courier—Aug 30, 1965

Preliminary hearings were set Monday for three persons charged in connection with an $800 holdup of a man here early last Friday in the 400 block of Clay Street. E.J. Polk, 32… charged with robbery with aggravation, will be given a hearing Friday. Another man charged with the same offense and also with resisting arrest , Irvin Johnson, …will be given a hearing Oct. 5. The third person charged, Magdalene Gardner, …accused of soliciting, had her hearing set for Sept. 23. They were arrested Friday after LaVoy R. Orner… said he and Harlan Olson… were confronted behind a house by two men with guns. They said the attack occurred after they had given a woman a ride to the house. Orner said the men took $800 from him and fled.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Oct 24, 1965

Irvin Johnson… Friday was ordered bound to district court on a charge of driving while his license was suspended. He was held to the higher court after a preliminary hearing before Judge William Parker.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Dec 1, 1965

WATERLOO—A Waterloo man was free Wednesday after a Black Hawk county district court jury returned an innocent verdict against him on a charge of robbery with aggravation. Irvin Johnson… was accused of the Aug. 27 holdup of two men on a street here during which $800 was allegedly taken… Johnson’s jury deliberated for three hours before returning the verdict of innocent.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Mar 14, 1966 

Selection of a district court jury was completed early Monday afternoon for a criminal trial in which Irvin Johnson… is defendant. He is charged by the state with unnatural sex acts against a prisoner last October in the Black Hawk county jail…


Waterloo Daily Courier—Mar 17, 1966

Sentencing of Irvin Johnson, who early Tuesday was found guilty of sodomy, has been set for 2 p.m. March 22 in district court. An all-male district court jury returned a guilty verdict against Johnson at 12:20 a.m. Thursday after nearly six hours of deliberation. Johnson… was found guilty of committing an unnatural sex act with a 19-year-old youth while the two were prisoners in the county jail last Oct. 30. Judge Peter Van Metre, who presided over Johnson’s three-day trial, could sentence him to a term of up to 10 years in the state penitentiary. An appeal bond of $5,000 was set after the verdict and Johnson was placed in the county jail. He had been free on $1,000 bond since March 4. Two other former jail inmates were charged with sodomy in connection with the same case involving Johnson. One of the two other defendants, Rodney R. Morris… pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years. Still facing the charge is Richard Dean Hammond…

Johnson spent much of his time the past seven months in court and jail. Last Sept. 9, he received a four-month sentence after pleading guilty in district court to a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily injury. An additional assault charge against him was dismissed at that time. He received a sentence of 60 days in the county jail later after pleading guilty to resisting execution of process when police served a warrant on him charging Johnson with armed robbery. Johnson won a district court jury acquittal on the holdup charge last Nov. 30. He had been accused of robbing two men last August. A charge of driving while his license was suspended is still pending in court.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Mar 28, 1966

Request for a new trial by a Waterloo man convicted of sodomy has been turned down in district court and sentencing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday. Asking a new jury trial was Irvin Johnson… who was convicted by a jury March 17 after a three-day trial. Sentencing was postponed after the conviction so a pre-sentence investigation could be made by officers of the Iowa Board of Parole. Johnson’s request for a new trial included contentions that incompetent and improper testimony was permitted, that the state failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and there were improper instructions to the jury.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Apr 1, 1966

Twenty-three-year-old Irvin Johnson charged with sodomy has appealed a 10-year reformatory sentence to the State Supreme Court. Johnson’s attorney filed the appeal after the defendant… was sentenced late Thursday in district court by Judge Peter Van Metre to the Men’s Reformatory at Anamosa… Appeal bond was set at $5,000.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Jul 28, 1971

A quantity of a substance believed to be heroin was seized during the execution of a search warrant on a Cedar Rapids hotel room Wednesday afternoon and two persons were taken into custody by detectives. Irvin Johnson, 29, who lists no address but who police said is from Waterloo, was being held in lieu of $18,500 bond on charges of violation of the state narcotics act and resisting execution of process. A woman in the room, Rosetta Harris, 23, who police said is purported to be Johnson’s common law wife, also was charged with violation of the state narcotics act and with carrying concealed weapons. She also was being held in lieu of $10,000 bond. Detectives said a search warrant was obtained after an investigation. Five detectives served the warrant. When they entered the room, officers said, Johnson made a dive for the woman’s purse. The officers said they subdued him after a struggle. Searching the purse they found a .25 cal. Revolver. One detective suffered an eye laceration but required no medical treatment.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Aug 5, 1971




1969 CADILLAC AUTOMOBILE , IOWA LICENSE NUMBER 57-71465 [1971], Defendant.


WHEREAS, a 1969 Cadillac Automobile with Iowa License Plate Number 57-71465 [1971] was seized on or about the 28th day of July, 1971, at the Allison Hotel, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, and said automobile as cescribed above was seized because it contained heroin, in violation of Senate Files 1 and 459, Section 401 (3) and Section 406, Acts of the 54th General Assembly of the State of Iowa, 1st Session.

WHEREAS, you are hereby summoned to appear before the Honorable B. J. Maxwell, Judge of the 8th Judicial District, in his Court Room in the Linn county Court House, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, on the 24th day of Sept., 1971, at 9:00 o’clock A.M. if you wish to show cause why the aforesaid conveyance and property should not be forfeited.

Dated at Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, this 30th day of July, 1971.

S/B.J.MAXWELL,  Judge of the 8th Judicial District


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Sept 27, 1971

Irvin Johnson, 29, Montrose hotel, was arrested Sunday for assault and battery. He posted $110 bond and was released. He was charged in information signed by Rosetta Harris before Justice of the Peace Glenn Powers. She alleged he took her to a home at 309 Eighth street SE Sunday and beat her while she was in the car and when they arrived at the residence.



Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 7, 1971

Four persons are charged with attempted murder and a Milwaukee, Wis., man was reported in good condition with two bullet wounds Tuesday as the result of an armed robbery at a house here Monday night. Reported in good condition at Allen Memorial Hospital is Smith Charles Crawford, 36, of Milwaukee, who suffered bullet wounds in the upper left thigh and left shoulder.

Held in the city jail under high bond are Ervin (sic) Johnson, 29, of Cedar Rapids; Rosetta Harris Johnson, 22, of Cedar Rapids; Norman Eugene Smith, 40, of Cedar Rapids and Henrietta Harrington, 26, of 413 Ricker Street.

Police said the quartet, two of which were arrested in Cedar Rapids and two near the intersection of Highways 218 and 30 early Tuesday, are accused of attempting to kill Crawford when they staged a robbery at 1210 E. 4th St. about 11 p.m. Monday. Occupants of the house, rented by Sharon Caldwell, 23, included Jimmie McNeal of Milwaukee, Miss Caldwell, Crawford and Ivanetta Cabbell, 24, who was placed on probation here Nov. 23 in connection with the theft of a ring at Zale’s Jewelry Store last December.

Police said Johnson and Smith and one of the women entered the house with guns drawn and demanded money from the two Wisconsin men. The trio got approximately $500, but Crawford was hit by two shots fired during the holdup. Police said the group of four left in two cars, which police were able to identify shortly after the holdup-shooting.

A car carrying Johnson and Rosetta Harris Johnson, identified as his common-law wife, was stopped near Highways 218 and 30 by Benton County Sheriff Harold Burch, Iowa Highway Patrolmen and Cedar Rapids Police.

The car carrying Smith and Miss Harrington was stopped at the edge of Cedar Rapids by police. Cedar Rapids police said the Harrington woman was booked there for carrying a concealed weapon as she had two handguns in her purse and one in her waistband.

Bonds on the four were set at $25,000 on Smith, $50,000 on Johnson, $40,000 on Miss Harrington and $25,000 on Mrs. Johnson. All are charged here with attempted murder and were scheduled to appear in district court later Tuesday.

Johnson and Mrs. Johnson were arrested in Cedar Rapids last July on charges of possessing heroin with intent to sell and with possession of concealed weapons. Johnson was arrested again on possession of heroin with intent to sell charges in September. Authorities in Cedar Rapids said then Johnson was involved in illegal drug traffic between Cedar Rapis and Iowa City. It was reported two late model expensive cars he owned were confiscated at that time in connection with the drug arrests. Johnson is known to have made frequent trips to Waterloo, of which he is a former resident.

He was convicted of a sodomy charge in a district court trial here in 1966 and was sentenced to serve 10 years in the state penitentiary. He was convicted of forcing a young county jail inmate to perform unnatural sex acts. Johnson was in jail with an assault case.

Police said they were advised that Smith served a sentence involving sale of narcotics based on a Nebraska charge.

Toledo policeman Dan Kendall observed the wanted car about midnight in Mac’s Skelly Station at the junction of Highways 63 and 30. The car matched the description of a car on a police radio broadcast. He checked with the service station attendant as the car left, traveling east on Highway 30. Kendall followed the car, but made no attempt to stop it. Kendall contacted two Tama policemen, Harry McMurray and Bert Reeder, who were patrolling. The Tama squad car joined Kendall at the Tama water tower, east of Tama.

The city officers were joined by two deputy sheriffs, Joe McBride and Special Deputy Eugene Anderson. Later Deputy Sam Schafer also joined the pursuing officers. The suspects’ car was pursued at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Benton County authorities set up a road block at the junction of Highways 218 and 30, 30 miles east of Tama. Linn County deputies joined the Benton deputies at the roadblock.

The car stopped at the roadblock. The occupants, a man and a woman, offered no resistance.

A total of 12 officers were involved in the pursuit and arrest of the suspects.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 9, 1971

Two of the four persons arrested and charged with three crimes each after a robbery and shooting here Monday were released Wednesday afternoon after their bonds were reduced by Judge Peter Van Metre and the two posted the required amounts. Bond for Irvin Johnson… was dropped from $50,000 to $10,000 and Johnson posted a surety bond to obtain his release. Bond on his common-law wife, Rosetta Johnson… was dropped from $25,000 to $4,000 and she, too, posted a surety bond.

… Following the Johnsons’ release Wednesday, county attorney Dave Dutton immediately filed a request that the District Court reconsider its lowering of Irvin Johnson’s bond. A hearing on Dutton’s request is set for next Tuesday and it is expected Johnson will be taken back into custody to await the hearing. Dutton said Thursday he will ask that Johnson be held without bond and if that is denied he will ask the court to set bond at a high figure. The county attorney said, “He (Johnson) has committed five crimes (including the three of which he is accused here) while awaiting trial for another one in Cedar Rapids. I hope to convince the court he is dangerous enough to be held in custody.”

Dutton said Judge Van Metre was “perfectly correct” under the law in reducing Johnson’s bond with the “limited facts” the judge had available. The county attorney explained that the bail reform act of the 1968 General Assembly makes it mandatory to reduce bonds in cases where the facts show the accused will appear for further proceedings. Johnson’s Cedar Rapids attorney had told the court Wednesday he had represented him in several cases and Johnson had always appeared when summoned.

Dutton said, “My quarrel is with the law and the interpretations of it that do not take into consideration other offenses committed while awaiting trial.” He said that at Tuesday’s hearing he will try to show that Johnson’s history indicates he will continue to commit crimes while awaiting trial. “For that reason,” Dutton said, “his bond should be elevated to a point where we can get him to trial on our charges before he commits other crimes.”

Mrs. Johnson entered a written plea of innocent to the three charges Wednesday. Henrietta Harrington’s arraignment on the three counts was scheduled for Monday and Smith had an attorney appointed. The date for his arraignment has yet to be set. Irvin Johnson has waived formal arraignment.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 13, 1971

Conspiracy to commit robbery charges were filed Monday in a Waterloo Municipal Court against four persons accused last week of armed robbery and assault with intent to murder so the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office can hold two witnesses to the alleged hold-up and shooting to testify in the trials of the four accused. A spokesman for the county attorney’s office said Smith Charles Crawford… and Jimmie McNeal… had indicated they would not come here from Milwaukee for the trials of Irvin Johnson… Rosetta Harris… Norman Eugene Smith… and Henrietta Harrington…

… Crawford was shot twice during the hold-up and was released from Allen Memorial Hospital here Monday morning. After his release Crawford was taken into custody by Waterloo police and was held as a “material witness” to the alleged crimes. McNeal… was also in custody as a material witness Monday.

The county attorney’s office said Iowa law does not allow for the holding of material witnesses in District Court cases but does state they may be held for Municipal Court charges. Thus the office is accusing the Johnsons, Smith, and Henrietta Harrington of conspiracy in order to keep the two witnesses here. Appearance bonds were set at $10,000 each for Crawford and McNeal to insure their appearances at the trials. They did not immediately furnish bonds.

Meanwhile, Irvin Johnson, rearrested by Cedar Rapids police Saturday night and returned to the Black Hawk County jail pending a hearing on his bond set for Tuesday morning, was picked up Sunday by Johnson County authorities.

Johnson was to go on trial in Johnson County Monday for possession of heroin…


Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 14, 1971

One of the four people accused of assault with intent to commit murder, robbery with aggravation and carrying concealed weapons in connection with a holdup and shooting here last week pleaded innocent to all three District Court charges Monday afternoon. Norman Eugene Smith… entered the pleas but was refused a reduction in his $25,000 bond by District Court Judge Blair C. Wood. Smith is also accused in Waterloo Municipal Court of conspiracy to commit robbery. He appeared before Judge Everett Scott Tuesday, but was given time to consult a lawyer, before entering a plea.

Another of the four arrested here last Tuesday was scheduled to appear in District Court Tuesday for a hearing on a reduction in his bond granted last Wednesday by Judge Peter Van Metre. However, the hearing for Irvin Johnson, 29, was postponed as Johnson is currently on trial in Iowa City for possession of heroin…

Smith, Johnson, and two women, Rosetta Harris… and Henrietta Harrington… are all accused of robbery… in which Smith Charles Crawford… lost more than $500 and was shot twice. Crawford and Jimmie McNeal… were being held in the Black Hawk County jail as material witnesses to the Municipal Court charge of conspiracy by the Johnsons, Smith and Miss Harrington.

The two also appeared in the Municipal Court Tuesday and were given time to obtain attorneys. Judge Scott told the men lawyers could cross-examine witnesses the state would call to testify that the two men should be required to post bond to insure their appearance as witnesses. Iowa law does not allow for the holding of witnesses in District Court cases, said the county attorney’s office [which] said Monday that both Crawford and McNeal had indicated that they would not return here for the District Court trials of the four accused persons.

Tuesday McNeal told Judge Scott that Crawford had been in severe pain Monday  night because of the wound in his leg. Judge Scott queried representatives of the county attorney’s office and Asst. County Atty. Robert Rausch said Crawford’s doctor at Allen Memorial Hospital and sheriff’s department officials knew of Crawford’s condition. “If he needs medical attention, we will see that he gets it,” Rausch said. Authorities said that when Crawford was arrested at his hospital room as a material witness they found a partially loaded .38 caliber revolver in his hospital room.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 15, 1971

Two men who are being held in lieu of $10,000 bond as material witnesses in a holdup-shooting that occurred here early last week have expressed bitterness that they are being held… [Smith Charles] Crawford was wounded in the shoulder and hip in the robbery and was released from a hospital Monday. He and [Jimmie] McNeal were robbed by two men and two women…

Both were taken into custody Monday as material witnesses in the case to insure they would testify in a trial of the four… Crawford, who said after his discharge from the hospital that he wanted to return to Milwaukee to get further treatment for his wounds, said, “If I want to go home and don’t want to come back, that’s my prerogative.” He said, “They’ve arrested me and put me under $10,000 bond and that’s more than the people got who shot me. His companion, McNeal, agreed, and contended, “They treat us worse than the fellows whoever they were, that robbed us.”

…Of the four persons charged in th shooting-holdup, only one is free on bond. She is Rosetta Harris Johnson, of Cedar Rapids, who was released on $4,000 bond…

Crawford, who contended the victim of a crime shouldn’t be held under a high bond, said, “If I owed them some time, I’d serve it; if I owed them a fine, I’d pay it. But I don’t owe them anything.” He said, “If I don’t remember what happened, they can’t make me remember. Maybe I was in shock.”

Dutton said it would take approximately 30 days to reach a trial stage in the cases filed against the four defendants…



Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 16, 1971

Two Milwaukee, Wis., men being held in the county jail here as material witneses were freed by Waterloo Municipal Court Judge Edward Kolker Thursday… [He]  issued a writ of Habeus Corpus Thursday noon after Waterloo Attorney Edward Gallagher contended Iowa law provides that material witnesses can be held only after a preliminary hearing shows the witnesses would not appear voluntarily. Freed by the writ were Smith Charles Crawford… who was wounded in both the shoulder and the hip during the robbery, and Jimmie McNeal…

However, a charge of defrauding an innkeeper was filed against McNeal Thursday in Municipal Court and law enforcement officials were planning to arrest him on that count before he left the Waterloo area. Authorities said McNeal failed to pay a bill owed the Ramada Inn…

 [Assistant County Attorney Robert] Rausch told Judge Kolker that keeping the witnesses here was “a practical matter” and indicated the state could not prove its cases against the four unless the witnesses were made to testify…   Gallagher, however contended Crawford and McNeal had been deprived of the due process of law and deprived of their liberty without legal reason.

He said, “It’s a mockery of justice that one of these men (Crawford) was shot, taken out of the hospital and incarcerated when he’s an innocent victim of a crime.” Gallagher said Crawford was still wearing his hospital pajamas under his trousers. Gallagher said, “It seems to me the position of the county attorney’s office is that the end—getting convictions of the four individuals accused of crimes—justifies the means—keeping these men incarcerated.”…

Meanwhile, Johnson was back in the Black Hawk county jail Thursday awaiting court action here. He was found guilty in Johnson County District Court Wednesday oon charges of possession of heroin with intent to deliver and is awaiting sentencing…



Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 22, 1971

Saying he “must weigh the acknowledged rights of the defendant against the right of the public to make sure the defendant appears to answer to the charges against him,” District Court Judge Blair Wood hiked the bond for a Cedar Rapids man accused of five crimes here back to $50,000. That was the bond originally set for Irvin Johnson… after his arrest two weeks ago…

Accused with Johnson are his common-law wife, Rosetta Harris Johnson… Henrietta Harrington… and Norman Eugene Smith… All face conspiracy with intent to rob charges as well as the three counts already listed. [Robbery with aggravation, assault with intent to commit murder and carrying concealed weapons.] … A fifth charge against Johnson was filed Tuesday in Municipal Court. He is now accused of assault in connection with an alleged attack last Friday on Black Hawk County Jailer Don Terebayze…

[County Atty. David] Dutton said Johnson was convicted last week in Iowa City where he was accused of delivering heroin and explained other charges against him are pending in Linn County. “We can conclude,” Dutton said, “that because of the accumulation of offenses and his conviction on one… it is more likely he will appear for trial if the bond is set at $50,000.”

Cedar Rapids attorney Fred Dumbaugh, who represents Johnson, said he has been Johnson’s defense counsel on several occasions and “on every occasion Johnson appeared when his presence was required. Dumbaugh also told Judge Wood that since Johnson was released several years ago from the penitentiary where he served time for sodomy, “he has been literally hounded by police in Black Hawk, Linn and Johnson counties.” …Dutton also said that Crawford and McNeal, who both had earlier said they would refuse to testify against the Johnsons, Miss Harrington and Smith, now have indicated they will return here for the trials.



Waterloo Daily Courier—Feb 23, 1972

A Milwaukee, Wis., man who said he faces two contempt of court charges because of his reluctance to come to Waterloo and testify in a Black Hawk County District Court robbery trial, Thursday identified Irvin Johnson as the man who shot and robbed him last Dec. 6. Smith Charles Crawford… said he was in Waterloo the weekend before the shooting and returned in midweek to visit Sharon Caldwell… On Sunday, Dec. 5, he said he went back to Milwaukee but was back in Waterloo by 7 the next morning.

He told of watching television at the Caldwell home that night and testified others present were Mrs. Caldwell, Ivanetta Cabbell, and two Wisconsin men who had come with Crawford to Waterloo that morning, Jimmie McNeal of Milwaukee and Eddie Finkley of Beloit. Crawford said Norman Eugene (Snooky) Smith… and a woman came into the house, greeted him and went into the kitchen. A “couple of minutes” later, he said, Johnson and a woman came in. He testified he had met Johnson in Waterloo the preceding weekend.

…Crawford testified Johnson said, “I want to talk to you,” and the two went into the bathroom. Johnson, according to Crawford, said, “I heard you laid a gun on Magdeline (another woman who had been at the Caldwell house before Smith and Johnson arrived).” Crawford said he told Johnson, “I didn’t have no squabble with her,” and the two men walked out of the bathroom with Johnson a step behind Crawford.

He testified they reached the kitchen door and, “I saw Smith standing there pointing a revolver directly at me.” Crawford said Smith stated, “Hold it you so and so,” and “I figured I was going to get knocked off one way or the other.” He said he hesitated a moment and then heard a noise behind him. “I figured he (Johnson) was going for his gun, so I grabbed him. We scuffled into the kitchen and I realized he had a shotgun in a sling.”

In the meantime, Crawford said, he reached for his own gun with his other hand and aimed it at Smith who jumped behind a partition in the house. “I took a bead on Smith,” he said, “And Johnson grabbed my hand. We was spinning and ‘rassling’ and it went off both barrels. One of them caught me.”

Crawford showed the district court jury an area of his left hip where he said he was hit by the shotgun. He said he fell to the floor after being shot. “As I said,” Crawford testified, “he twisted my hand and kicked me in the chest.” Then, Crawford testified, “Johnson said, ‘You’re a fool.’  He was telling me that the shotgun was a little too much for me.” Crawford said Johnson told him he “was going to kill me” and pointed Crawford’s pistol at his head. “He cocked it and fired it.”

Crawford said he dodged to the side and the pistol shot him in the shoulder. “I fell on my back,” he testified, and explained, “somebody said ‘where’s the money’ and Johnson reached in my pocket and got it. He said, ‘It’s got a hole shot through it’ and somebody else said, ‘Take it anyway.'”

He testified Johnson then went into the living room “Talking like a crazy man, like he was going to kill everybody. I said, ‘You got a beef with me, kill me.'”  Crawford testified Johnson came back to the kitchen, took a ring and a watch from Crawford and “kicked me in the mouth.”

Crawford said he was “dazed” and passed out on at least one occasion. “When I woke up I saw McNeal tied up. I heard a girl say, ‘How did you all get me involved in something like this.'”

He told the court he is semi-paralyzed in his left arm and shoulder as a result of the gunshot. Asked by County Atty. David Dutton if he was aware a court order had to be issued in order to bring him back to Waterloo for the Johnson trial, Crawford replied, “Yes, I got two subpoenas and two contempt charge against me… [I]t’s not my policy to put a man in jail… but I’ve got no respect for this man (Johnson).”

He said he knew the prosecutor’s office has not been able to locate McNeal but stated he was not aware Dutton was also trying to locate Finkley. When Dutton asked, “You usually take care of your own beefs?” Crawford answered, “If I can’t it’s my bad luck.”

Crawford is to be cross-examined by Johnson’s attorney later in the day. However, as he left the court room at noon Wednesday he was served with papers by the sheriff’s department because of a bill owed to Allen Memorial Hospital where he received treatment for his wounds after the incident.


Waterloo Daily Courier—Dec 14, 1971

… Taking the witness stand Thursday was Mrs. Sharon Caldwell who said Smith Charles Crawford was visiting in her home the night of the robbery. Mrs. Caldwell said she was in the bedroom and heard two men arguing and scuffling but could not make out what was being said. She testified she heard two or three shots and then heard “someone say, ‘I told you not to mess with me.'”  She heard Crawford answer, “You already shot me.” Mrs. Caldwell said Johnson came to the bedroom and asked her for some stockings. He took some from the bureau drawer, she stated, and then tied up her, Ivanetta Cabbell, Jimmie McNeal and Eddie Finkley, who were also present in the house at the time.

Mrs. Caldwell explained she was made to lie down on the living room floor but from her position there she could see Johnson going through Crawford’s pockets in the kitchen. Johnson then came back to the living room and went through the pockets of McNeal and Finkley, she testified.

Following Mrs. Caldwell to the witness stand Thursday was Dennis Fiser, a deputy sheriff in Linn County where Johnson, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Harrington and Smith were arrested…  He told of receiving a report from Waterloo authorities describing the  robbery-shooting suspects and their automobiles. Fiser said he drove to a surveillance point on Hwy. 30 west of Cedar Rapids and a short time later observed Smith’s car. He followed the vehicle and radioed Cedar Rapids police for assistance, he testified. When Smith was stopped at a road block in town, Fiser said, Mrs. Harrington was with him. Two guns, a .357 magnum and a small pistol were found in her purse. Both were loaded, Fiser testified.

Later in the evening, Fiser testified, he was called to the intersection of Hwy. 218 and Hwy. 30 where Tama and Benton County authorities had stopped Johnson. He arrested Johnson, he said, and took him to Cedar Rapids where he and Mrs. Johnson were booked.

Also testifying Thursday morning was Cedar Rapids Patrolman Doug Hansell. He told of participating in the roadblock at which Smith and Mrs. Harrington were stopped and of observing a gun handle “sticking out of her purse.” At the police station, Hansel said, a further search made of Mrs. Harrington and a Colt .45 was found concealed in her underwear. Hansell said a roll of money was also discovered in Mrs. Harrington’s purse but he was not allowed

 to repeat what the woman said when it was discovered after Johnson’s attorney, Fred Dumbaugh of Cedar Rapids, contended such a remark would be “hearsay.”…

Seeking to cast doubt on Crawford’s veracity Johnson’s attorney, Fred Dumbaugh,  took him step by step back through the story Crawford related of Johnson shooting and robbing him related in response to earlier questions by the county attorney. Crawford repeated the version he told earlier. He conceded under questioning by Dumbaugh that he had given an oral statement to police while he was in Allen Memorial hospital, but he had refused to sign that or any other statement.

Crawford, under subpoena to testify here, said what he told police in the hospital was  largely untrue. He said he lied in response to many questions because “I didn’t want to be bothered.” Before he gave officers the statement in which he denied he knew who shot him, he said he told police “I didn’t remember nothing that happened… I didn’t know nobody.”

Dumbaugh asked Crawford, who earlier testified to carrying large amounts of money on his visits here, if he had other income besides that he obtained by driving a truck in Milwaukee. “I gamble any time I can,” Crawford responded. Dumbaugh asked, “You ever sell drugs?” “No,” Crawford said. “Do you ever sell heroin. Do you ever sell marijuana or other drugs?” “No,” Crawford repeated.

Earlier, Crawford, in response to a question by Dutton, said he didn’t remember who sold him the .357 magnum pistol he bought earlier the day he was shot. He was asked, “Who did you buy the gun from?” “I don’t care to say that.” “I want you to answer,” Dutton told him. Crawford replied, “I don’t remember.”

Dutton asked, “Isn’t it a fact that you bought the gun from Lindburgh Whitts (operator of the Super Chef Lounge…)?”

“No, it’s not,” Crawford said.

  Later Crawford said he didn’t remember any talk of drug sales or purchases between himself or anyone else with Johnson. “If he’s (Johnson) messed up with drugs that’s his business,” Crawford told Dumbaugh. Dumbaugh asked Crawford if, concerning his talk about drug deals, his failure to remember was similar to remembering who he bought the gun from, and Crawford replied, “Right.”

Dr. Richard Wells, a witness for the state, testified that he treated Crawford in the emergency room of the hospital shortly after Crawford was brought there. He said Crawford was suffering from shock because of loss of blood from the massive hip wound and was in pain and showed a partial loss of use of his left hand from the bullet wound in his left shoulder.

Dr. Wells said he found pieces of what appeared to be paper money and a lead pellet in the thigh wound. He said that wound, made by a shotgun, measured in extremes of eight inches wide and 1 1/2 inches deep.

Crawford, who said he suffered the two gun wounds, plus a blow on the forehead from a pistol wielded from Johnson, said he had been robbed before. “I was robbed by a fellow with a sawed off .22 on a sling under his coat,” Crawford said. He added that, “When he (Johnson) was opening his coat and didn’t come out with a pistol I knew what the next thing was.”


Waterloo Daily Courier—Feb 25, 1972

The defendant in a Black Hawk County District Court trial testified Friday he did not commit a robbery… last Dec. 6 and contended a Milwaukee, Wis., man shot that night received his wounds accidentally during a scuffle…

[Irvin] Johnson, who testified in his own behalf Thursday afternoon, was cross-examined by County Atty. David Dutton Friday morning. He said he did not know if Smith was planning to rob Crawford and the other occupants of the house on the night in question. Johnson also said he did not see Smith take any money or property from Crawford and testified he did not take anything from Crawford, either. Johnson admitted riding from the scene with Smith in Smith’s car but contended he did not know two of three guns discovered later were in the automobile. Asked why he and Smith both ended up in Cedar Rapids with their own cars, Johnson replied, “I live in Cedar Rapids. Norman live in Cedar Rapids.”

Johnson told the 11-man, one-woman jury hearing the case that he and Crawford had been in the bathroom before the shooting occurred. The defendant said they came out of the bathroom and he heard Smith say, “Hold it” and saw Smith pointing a gun at Crawford. He testified he “didn’t know what was happening.”

Johnson said Crawford went for a gun tucked in his waistband and “I grabbed him.” The two scuffled, Johnson said, and both the shotgun and Crawford’s .357 magnum revolver went off. Both shots hit Crawford with the shotgun blast wounding him in the hip and the revolver shot hitting him in the chest, Johnson said.

Asked why he (Johnson) had a sawed-off shotgun under his coat in the first place, Johnson replied, “I heard he (Crawford) was looking for me.”

Johnson testified he had talked with Magdeline Gardner earlier in the day. “She told me Crawford threatened her with a gun and said he was looking for me,” Johnson said. In response to other questions from the county attorney, Johnson stated he didn’t know much about guns but had carried them previously. When Dutton asked, “You know what they’ll do to a person if they are fired, don’t’ you?” Johnson replied, “They’ll put a hole in you.” Johnson admitted tying up the occupants of the house after the shooting but said he did it because “I was scared and nervous and I wanted to get out of town.”


Waterloo Daily Courier—Feb 27, 1972

A Black Hawk County District Court jury late Friday found a Cedar Rapids man guilty of robbery with aggravation. Irvin Johnson… was accused of robbing and shooting Smith Charles Crawford…  The… jury deliberated about an hour Friday before taking a supper break. Its guilty verdict came about 45 minutes after returning.

In final arguments Friday afternoon Johnson’s attorney, Fred Dumbaugh of Cedar Rapids, had contended Johnson “happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Dumbaugh also argued that the story of the robbery and shooting told by  Crawford contained “too  many holes—too many inconsistencies.” He called Crawford and Sharon Caldwell, the owner of the residence where the offense occurred, “chronic and habitual liars” and concluded, “The state proved Johnson is not the most desirable person ever to come to Waterloo.” But, he said, “Johnson is not on trial for being undesirable.”

County Attorney David Dutton told the jury of the difficulty the prosecutor’s office had in bringing Crawford to Waterloo to testify in the trial. He said Crawford and Johnson followed “the law of the jungle” and Crawford preferred to settle his problems without calling “the man, the police.” Dutton told the jury their decision in the Johnson case would set a standard for law enforcement in Black Hawk County.



Waterloo Daily Courier—Apr 5, 1972

Two charges pending in Black Hawk County District Court against a Cedar Rapids woman were dismissed by District Court Judge Blair Wood Tuesday afternoon after the woman pleaded guilty and was given a suspended five-year prison term for a third charge. Paroled to the Bureau of Corrections was Rosetta Harris Johnson… who was accused along with three other persons of robbery with aggravation, assault with intent to commit murder and carrying concealed weapons in connection with a robbery and shooting… here last Dec. 6.

The robbery and assault charges against Mrs. Johnson were dropped after she pleaded guilty to the weapons offense. Her husband, Irvin Johnson… is currently serving a 25-year prison term after being found guilty by a District Court jury of robbery with aggravation in connection with the events here and Norman Eugene (Snooky) Smith… was given a 25-year sentence for the same crime in District Court Tuesday.

The fourth person charged, Henrietta Harrington… is still awaiting court action. She has entered innocent pleas to the three charges…

Darwin Ambers


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Oct 27, 1966

George E. Washington, 20, of 902 Fifth street SE demanded a preliminary hearing Thursday when he was arraigned in municipal court on a charge of assault with intent to commit murder. The hearing was set for Nov. 4, and Washington was returned to the Linn county jail where he was being held in lieu of $5,000 bond. Washington is accused of shooting Mack R. Gibson, 34, of 615 Fifth avenue SE, late Tuesday at 1124 Eighth street SE, the Darwin Ambers residence. The weapon used was a 25-caliber automatic, according to authorities. Detectives said Thursday that the motive of the shooting has not been established, but they added that the incident was the result of an argument between Washington and Gibson. Gibson, who suffered a wound in the abdomen, remained in fair condition Thursday in the intensive care ward at Mercy hospital.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Oct 18, 1968

Darwin Ambers, 22, of 1116 Sixth street SE, was being held in the city jail Friday on a charge of larceny. Authorities said Ambers’ arrest cleared the Oct. 8 robbery of Robert Early, 319 Fourth avenue SE. Early had reported he was sleeping in his car in the 1100 block of Sixth street SE when a man entered the car and took $60 from him. Investigation resulted in Ambers’ arrest.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 24, 1970

Eight persons were arrested in Cedar Rapids on drug law violations Monday night in raids that Police Chief George J. Matias said culminated a six-week investigation. Darwin Ambers, 23, of 933 Fourteenth avenue SE, was charged with four counts of sale of heroin. He was being held in the county jail in lieu of $25,000 bond…  Chief Matias said two police officers had been working undercover during the investigation in this recent crackdown on heroin and narcotics pushers. Matias said Ambers is accused of selling heroin to undercover officers on several occasions. Monday night, Matias said, the undercover men purchased $500 worth of heroin from him, which has a street value of $3,000. He was arrested in the 900 block of Fifteenth avenue SE.

A search warrant was executed on [Ambers’s] apartment… and injection equipment was confiscated…

Chief Matias said more arrests were expected in connection with the investigation. [He] said 69 persons have been arrested in Cedar Rapids since the first of the year for violation of narcotics and drug laws. There were 58 adults and 11 juveniles.

In all of 1969, he said, there were 72 adults and 26 juveniles arrested. In 1968, 53 adults and 25 juveniles were charged.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Mar 26, 1970

Four men arrested Monday night on drug charges demanded preliminary hearings Thursday in municipal court. Darwin Ambers… charged with four counts of sale of heroin, had his hearing set for April 10 on all four counts…  Ambers [was] being held in the Linn county jail in lieu of $25,000 bond…


Cedar Rapids Gazette—April 21, 1970

Two Cedar Rapids men charged with sale of heroin appeared in Linn district court Monday. One pled guilty to that charge, while the other pled guilty to false pretenses. Kenneth Downs, 24… pled guilty to sale of heroin and received a sentence of three years in the men’s reformatory at Anamosa and was fined $100. County Attorney William Faches said the heroin sold by Downs was a “lethal dose.”

Darwin Ambers… pled guilty to a charge of false pretenses and was given a suspended sentence of seven years at the reformatory and placed on probation. Faches explained the change in charge by saying that what authorities thought was $500 worth of heroin, said to be worth $3,000 on the street level, turned out to be only a sleeping powder, worth much less.

Explaining his statement about the “lethal dose” allegedly sold by Downs, Faches said the normal dosage was about four to seven percent of heroin, while that sold by Downs had 36.8 percent heroin… Faches said Downs was fortunate he did not sell to someone who might have died from using the heroin, since the minimum charge in that case would have been manslaughter.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 19, 1970

Darwin Ambers, 24, route one, Cedar Rapids, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant charging him with soliciting. Ambers was arrested in connection with a Sept. 5 incident in the 300 block of Ninth avenue and trial was set for Nov. 24. Ambers was being held in the Linn county jail in lieu of $110 bond.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 30, 1970

A charge of soliciting against Darwin Ambers… was dismissed Wednesday in municipal court because the complaining witness could not be found to testify…

William Faches


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Oct 14, 1970

Speaking at a coffee in the James Affeldt home… County Attorney William Faches said Tuesday that since January 1, 1969, his office has tried 20 cases to a jury, two of them in municipal court. In 15 cases, he said, the defendant was convicted. In three the defendant was found innocent, in one the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and in one there was a hung jury. In the case of the hung jury, Faches said, the defendant will be retried within the next month or two. Of the 15 convictions, he said, two were murder cases. “The trial of one murder case is equivalent to the trial of between five and seven ordinary cases.” Faches said three assistants in addition to himself are responsible for criminal jury trials, and that the other six assistants have specialized fields which require all of their time. This year, Faches said, the taxpayer was fortunate because two alleged murderers pled guilty. “This has saved a considerable amount of money, since the court-appointed attorney fees for one of the cases tried in 1969 amounted to over $19,000.00.

Faches said the success of his office in prosecution of criminal cases has contributed to the reduction of the crime rate for the first six months of 1970.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 2, 1970

The 11 persons presently serving time in the penitentiary for sale of drugs pled guilty to the maximum charge as provided by law, Linn County Attorney William Faches said Monday. He said a tough policy against drug pushers has been maintained while he has been serving in office.

Speaking at a coffee at the Eugene Kopecky home… he said all members of a Cedar Rapids abortion ring have been convicted by the court, and rapped his opponent’s misstatements concerning his treatment of drug and abortion cases… Faches argued that the 16 percent decrease in the Cedar Rapids crime rate indicates the effectiveness of his office in dealing severely with criminals. He said sensible judgment and placing of extra effort in the most serious cases has turned the crime rate downward in Cedar Rapids, in contrast with the increase throughout the nation.

Wendell Beets


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Apr 10, 1968

A federal warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution has been filed against a former Cedar Rapids man for a long list of false check charges. Wendell A. Beets, 22, faces some 15 counts of writing bad checks, plus a charge of forgery. He received 30-day suspended sentences on check charges twice early in 1967.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Apr 30, 1968

Wendell Beets, 22, a former Cedar Rapids resident, who now lists his address as Thornton, Ark., was given a seven-year sentence Tuesday in district court by Judge I. Paul Naughton on a false uttering of a check charge. Beets was then placed on probation to the Rev. John Thomas under the condition that he make restitution for all outstanding checks. He was sentenced for writing a $253 bad check to the Handler Motor Co., on Dec. 9 for a used car.

Beets also faces municipal court check and speeding charges.

Two warrants were issued for Beets’ arrest after he allegedly passed between $400 and $500 in bad checks in Cedar Rapids. They were a municipal court warrant and a felony bench warrant. The FBI located Beets in Arkansas. He posted bond on the two warrants and refused to waive extradition, authorities said. Beets returned to Cedar Rapids Monday and turned himself in to the Rev. Mr. Thomas.


Cedar Rapids Gazette—Nov 20, 1970

Three men have enlisted in the armed forces… Enlisting in the air force and sent to Lackland, Texas, was Wendell A. Beets, 25, of 1022 Sixth street SE…


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