New charges introduced in Gartin case

A Marshalltown man convicted of voluntary manslaughter and abuse of a corpse could face an 82 year prison sentence after the Marshall County Attorney filed felony drug and weapon charges in the case on Thursday.

Jeremy Gartin, 30, was convicted in December by a Cerro Gordo County jury in the death of David Warnell. Prosecutors argued Gartin was guilty of first-degree murder in the Oct. 1, 2013 shooting of the 59-year-old Garwin man. However, the jury returned a guilty verdict for voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge that carries a 10-year prison sentence. Gartin was also found guilty of abuse of a corpse and carrying a concealed weapon.

During his trial Gartin testified in open court to his involvement with methamphetamine sales, including a sale of more than 5 grams to Warnell the night of his death.

Gartin’s new charges include delivery of a controlled substance while in the possession of a firearm, a felony that carries a 50 year sentence; delivery of a controlled substance, a felony that carries a 10 year sentence and possession of a firearm by a felon, which carries a five year sentence.

Warnell was shot in the head at close range with a .44 revolver following a drug deal dispute at Gartin’s Marshalltown home, 502 N. Fourth Ave. Warnell’s body was mutilated post-mortem; his teeth, fingertips and tattoos were removed from his body.

Police found Warnell’s body in the basement of Gartin’s home. He had been tied into the fetal position with an extension cord and bundled in sheets of heavy plastic and placed in a sleeping bag.

Gartin testified at his trial that he did not intend to shoot Warnell, but had pointed the gun at Warnell to scare him. Gartin said he blamed his intoxication and unfamiliarity with the gun for the fatal shot. Max E. Nelson Jr., of Marshalltown, was the only witness to the shooting. Nelson, who is charged with abuse of corpse, accessory after the fact and first-degree theft, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has a pending trial date.

Judge James Ellefson will sentence Gartin on the charges Monday afternoon at the Marshall County Courthouse.

Gartin said in December that he first used methamphetamine when he was in middle school. Gartin, who has at least two other recent felony convictions, said he was selling meth last fall for extra cash.