Argument led to murder at Meskwaki

A 20-year-old man has been charged with the stabbing murder of a 17-year-old, after an incident Monday night at the Meskwaki Settlement.

Jonathan Curtis Youngbear, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Severn Jefferson, 17.

Police were called to 1695 340th St. Just before 5 p.m. Monday. Court documents said Youngbear had an argument with Jefferson after they, and others, had been drinking and smoking meth for more than a day.

The documents say Youngbear came up from behind Jefferson while Jefferson was sitting on a couch and stabbed him in the chest with a knife. When officers from the Tama County Sheriff’s Office, Meskwaki Police Department and Toledo Police Department arrived on the scene Jefferson was unresponsive.

Youngbear made an initial court appearance in Tama on Tuesday where a judge set his bail at $1 million. A preliminary hearing is set for March 7. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The family of Jonathan Youngbear released a statement to media.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Severn Jefferson, who recently lost their family member,” the statement reads. “Two families have been unexpectedly changed forever and we are heartbroken over this event. We ask for prayers and support for the families, the community, and all those affected by this tragedy.”

The case remains under investigation with several authorities involved including the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Youngbear remains in the Tama County Jail.

This death investigation comes just three weeks after Gordon Lasley Jr. was charged with the murder of his parents, Gordon and Kim Lasley on the Meskwaki Settlement. He allegedly used a machete to kill his parents Feb. 5.