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More charges filed in murder-for-hire scheme

Justin Lee DeWitt, 36, of North Liberty. (photo courtesy Johnson County Sheriff’s Office)

MUSCATINE– A North Liberty man accused of attempting to hire a hit man last June is facing additional charges.
On Thursday, Dec. 29, Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren announced that three counts of attempted murder had been filed against Justin Lee DeWitt, 36, of North Liberty. Each charge is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
According to criminal complaints, DeWitt allegedly sought the murder of three individuals– an Iowa Department of Public Safety special agent, an adult male and an adult female– while he was an inmate in the Muscatine County Jail.
DeWitt was first arrested June 27, 2016, for four separate counts of attempted murder and four counts of solicitation to commit murder– to all of which he pleaded not guilty. Criminal complaints filed by the North Liberty Police Department accused DeWitt of meeting with an undercover officer, whom he believed to be an assassin-for-hire, in June 2016 to sign a contract and pay a $1,000 down payment for the murder of four individuals. The intended targets were allegedly a business associate of DeWitt’s and the associate’s family members, including two young children.
The original eight charges are punishable up to a combined total of 140 years in prison, or 100 years plus $40,000 in fines.
A preliminary hearing for the December charges is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. DeWitt remains in the Muscatine County Jail, where he is being held on behalf of the Johnson County Jail, in administrative segregation. His bond is set at $750,000.
The most recent charges against DeWitt were the result of an investigation by the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation and Division of Narcotics Enforcement.