Jury selection to continue in murder trial

MASON CITY – Jury selection in the murder trial of a Marshalltown man will fall into a second day.

Jeremy A. Gartin is accused of killing David Warnell, a Garwin man, on Oct. 1. He is

charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and carrying a concealed weapon.

The jury selection process began with a pool of 100 jurors Tuesday morning in the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse in Mason City.

Douglas Hammerand, a state assistant attorney general, and defense attorney Paul Rounds, questioned prospective jurors for the majority of the day.

Questions ranged from what the potential juror’s reaction might be to gruesome photos to whether they were fans of the TV show “CSI.”

Hammerand also examined several legal terms such as specific intent, motive, direct and circumstantial evidence and premeditation. He also asked jurors if they were familiar with a .44 revolver.

Rounds’ questioning examined whether police should be given any special credibility as witnesses and how individual jurors felt about alcohol and about guns.

Rounds previously filed notice to use intoxication as a defense at trial.

At the conclusion of the court day, Rounds was in the process of asking questions individually to the 32 people in the jury box. He questioned nine people for roughly 10 minutes each by the end of the court day.

Gartin appeared unshackled in courtroom donning a recent haircut and business casual attire. Two Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies have been assigned to the courtroom.

Marshall County Attorney Jennifer Miller is prosecuting the case along with Hammerand. Michelle Wolf is assisting Rounds with the defense.

Jury selection continues at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Police opened an investigation in this case after a confidential informant told an officer he received a voicemail from Gartin, who said he’d shot someone. Officers began surveillance of his home, 502 N. Fourth Ave., where they eventually observed Gartin carrying several bags of garbage to the curb.

According to search warrants, officers later discovered fingers, teeth, and a tattooed piece of skin in those bags. Warnell’s mutilated body was later discovered in the basement of Gartin’s home.

Max E. Nelson Jr., also of Marshalltown, is also accused in the case. He is charged with abuse of a corpse, accessory after the fact and first-degree theft. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. Nelson is expected to testify at the trial on behalf of the state.

Court records indicate Warnell’s death was the result of a drug deal dispute. Rounds said Tuesday he expects the state to introduce evidence Gartin was selling methamphetamine the night of Warnell’s death.