Eastern Iowa prisoner charged after trying to kill three witnesses with hit man

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A man has been charged in the Muscatine County District Court for attempting to murder three witnesses set to testify against him.

Justin Lee Dewitt was sentenced earlier in Johnson County after trying to arrange four murders including two children, Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren said in a statement.

While he was an inmate, Dewitt solicited another prisoner to have three witnesses in his Johnson County case killed to prevent them from testifying, according to the statement. That prisoner told authorities, who then began to investigate.

Dewitt then spoke to who he thought was an associate of a contracted killer, according to the statement. This person was actually an undercover agent with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement. Dewitt sent the agent a diagram of a residence where two of the witnesses live and identified the vehicle of another.

“The fact that the offender sought to kill witnesses against him made this case particularly serious,” Ostergren said.

Dewitt was sentenced up to 50 years in prison on top of the 35-year sentence he received in Johnson County.

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