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Jury finds man guilty of trying to make arrangements to have 3 witnesses killed

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — An inmate at the Muscatine County Jail was convicted of attempt to commit murder, after prosecutors say he tried to make arrangements to have three witnesses killed.

After two days of trial and a 12-minute deliberation, a jury found 38-year-old Justin Lee Dewitt guilty on three counts of attempt to commit murder, according to a statement from the Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren.  The verdict came down Tuesday, December 11.

Dewitt was accused of trying to arrange the murder of two adults and two children, said Ostergren’s statement. Dewitt was arrested in Johnson County, Iowa and held in the Muscatine County Jail.

The statement said that while Dewitt was in jail, he “solicited another inmate to make arrangements to have three witnesses in his Johnson County case killed in order to prevent them from testifying.”  The inmate reported Dewitt, which prompted an investigation.

Authorities set up an undercover agent who Dewitt spoke with twice.  According to the statement, Dewitt believed the person “was an associate of a contract killer.”

Dewitt and the agent talked over the Muscatine County Jail’s video visitation system.

“During the recorded conversations Dewitt identified the three people he wanted to be killed,” read the statement.  They also spoke about financial arrangements.  The statement also said that Dewitt mailed the agent a diagram of where two of the people lived.

Dewitt was set to be sentenced on January 18 at 9 a.m.  He was held in the Muscatine County Jail without bond pending sentencing.  He was previously sentenced to serve 35 years for the original case.

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