Joshua Royer is seen in this April 2014 photo from the Iowa Sex Offender registry. Royer is on the sex offender list due to a 1995 assault conviction in California.

Closing Arguments Made in Royer Murder Trial

Closing arguments took place today in the trial of 39 year old Joshua Royer, the man accused of gunning down 50 year old Eddie Cooper Martin last August as he sat on his bicycle at an intersection in Burlington. Sitting emotionlessly, Royer and his defense attorney, James Beres, first heard the closing argument from assistant county prosecutor Ty Rogers. Rogers summarized the circumstantial evidence linking Royer to Martin’s murder: Royer’s car, clearly seen at the crime scene, two teenagers who attest to speaking with Royer near the crime scene just before shots were heard, one witness who said she saw Royer’s vehicle pull up at an angle and stop just next to Martin in the street before shots were heard, and another witness–a friend of Royer’s–who testified that Royer admitted to shooting someone, allegedly “because they were wearing red”. Beres fired back, claiming that police failed to follow up on credible leads and that no clear motive was established, making the charge of premeditated, first degree murder, completely out of the question. Beres also pointed out the lack of any eyewitnesses and the fact that the murder weapon was never discovered in an attempt to cast a reasonable doubt on the case. Continue Reading

police-lights

Rumors About Police Department Resignations False, Police Say

No. They’re still here. Six members of the Burlington Police Department DID NOT walk off the job yesterday, contrary to a rumor that spread like wildfire over social media. In a statement, the department claimed the rumors were entirely baseless, and that “They have not received any notice of resignation or intent of resignation from any of their officers”. It’s not clear how the rumor began to spread. Continue Reading

Jared Flowers. Photo: Des Moines County Jail

Burlington Homeowner Foils Attempted Burglary

A homeowner tackled and held down a would-be burglar caught trying to break into their home on Monday. That homeowner managed to detain 24 year old Jared Flowers until police arrived at 923 Wells Court. A neighbor had called police when they spotted Flowers attempting to cut open a screen door and kick in the door behind it. Before police responded, the owner of the home came home and allegedly discovered Flowers in the middle of the act. Flowers ran from the homeowner initially, but the homeowner caught up and tackled him to the ground. Continue Reading

flames background

RV Destroyed in Fire at Carthage Lake

An RV Fire at Carthage Lake Club in Illinois caused an impressive plume of smoke that could be seen all the way in Burlington on Tuesday. Burlington Firefighters were actually the first one on the scene of the fire at around 6:21 am. Upon arrival they found a fully engulfed RV burning dangerously close to a raised, stilted house on Carthage Lake Club Road. Flames were shooting up to 20 yards from the RV, threatening to catch the home on fire. The RV was completely destroyed. Continue Reading

The council chambers were completely filled for the rezoning hearing.

North Hill Petitioners Lose Zoning Battle

A single block of in the North Hill Neighborhood will not be rezoned following a split decision by the Burlington City Council. The petition to rezone the block containing 1111 North 5th Street from multi-family residential to single-family residential was first brought to the Council’s attention when the issue came in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustments in March, who unanimously denied the petition. Neighbors signed the petition specifically to target 1111 North 5th, which was previously used as an 11 unit boarding house. Under a previous owner, the property was a nuisance in the neighborhood, a den of drugs, crime, and uncleanliness. Ed Russell used to own the home next door, raising his children there. Continue Reading

Yarmouth Café Fire Was Arson, Sheriff’s Officials Say

The Des Moines County Sheriffs Department is bringing their investigation of the Yarmouth Café fire to a close–they’ve determined it was intentionally set. Mediapolis News reports that video evidence reportedly found at the scene has revealed key evidence in the blaze that gutted the inside of the Café on March 24. “I can’t comment on the video evidence, but we have determined the fire was intentionally set,” said Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone. This comes as Yarmouth Café owner Delight Lebert was found dead in a garage at her home. According to the Louisa County Sherriff’s Department, the department received a call Friday at 12:54 p.m. from a John Kuisle who requested medical attention for Lebert. Continue Reading

Maurice Green. Courtesy: Knox County Jail

Bond Set at $2 Million for Alleged Jefferson Street Shooter

Maurice Green appeared on video feed before the judge in the Des Moines County Courthouse on Tuesday, his first hearing since being charged for the Wednesday murder of 28 year old Matthew Banks. It was the first thing on the agenda for the 45 year old Green since waiving extradition from Galesburg, Illinois. He fled there shortly after Banks was shot three times at a home on Jefferson Street in Burlington and was captured several hours after the murder. Green’s bond was set at $2 million. Police say that Green allegedly shot Banks when he lost $1,600 during a dice gambling game. Continue Reading

Iowa DOT to Spend $700m on Roads This Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Transportation says it plans to spend a record $700 million on construction on state and interstate highway projects this year. The Des Moines Register reports the department spent $656 million on road projects in 2014. A 10-cent-per-gallon tax gasoline tax increase, which took effect March 1, will provide about $200 million annually to cities and counties across the state. There are statewide plans to fill potholes, repair aging bridges and install new concrete and asphalt pavement. Officials say that up to 500 work zones will be set up statewide from now until the end of the road construction season in November. Continue Reading