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Murder trials set for 2010


The Iowa County District Court will be busy in 2010.

Four first-degree murder defendants, arrested for two separate cases, will stand trial in Iowa County District Court in 2010.

Tonch Weldon, 37, rural Blairstown, will stand trial Jan. 25, 2010, for allegedly killing Amy Gephart earlier this summer.

Weldon was originally scheduled to stand trial Oct. 12.

His defense attorney, state public defender Dennis Cohen, filed a motion to waive Weldon’s right to a speedy trial. The motion was granted Sept. 28.

According to the motion, a substantial amount of discovery is not yet completed and Weldon’s present medical condition would make it difficult for him to attend his own trial at this time.

According to the incident report, at 4:30 p.m. on June 7 at Weldon’s home in rural Blairstown, he allegedly willfully, deliberately and with premeditation shot Gephart with a shotgun, killing her. Gephart was living with Weldon and his family at the time.

Weldon then allegedly attempted to shoot himself. He was initially treated at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and then moved to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, Oakdale.

As of Thursday, Oct. 1, Weldon has been an inmate at the Iowa County Jail.

Iowa County Sheriff Robert Rotter said there were no incidences with Weldon’s transfer from Oakdale and Weldon has done well at the Iowa County Jail.

Weldon is on a special diet since he cannot “do a lot of chewing,” Rotter said. Weldon’s food is blended and minced so he can eat, Rotter said.

Iowa County was paying $150 a day to house Weldon at Oakdale. Rotter said he is waiting for the last bills to come in and has not tallied the total amount the sheriff’s office has spent housing Weldon outside the county.

Rotter said Weldon may have some follow-up surgeries yet, but it is Rotter’s belief they will be done on an outpatient basis.

“We will keep him here for the duration,” Rotter said.


One defendant in the Curtis Bailey murder trial has reasserted her right to a speedy trial.

Douglas Eichholz, private attorney for Jessica Dayton, 19, Belle Plaine, filed a motion Oct. 8 reasserting Dayton’s right to a speedy trial. As such, Dayton’s trial must be held within 90 days.

Dayton’s trial is set for Jan. 4, 2010, at 9 a.m. in Iowa County District Court.

Dayton’s trial will be held separately from her co-defendants, Denise Frei, 44, Marengo, and Jacob Hilgendorf, 20, Belle Plaine.

Dayton, Frei and Hilgendorf are charged with killing Curtis Bailey, Marengo, July 19 at 220 West Main St., Marengo. The incident report states all three allegedly willfully, deliberately and with premeditation killed Curtis Bailey. Bailey died from blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

Frei and Hilgendorf both waived their right to a speedy trial. Their trial will be held May 17, 2010.

The Honorable Denver D. Dillard has been assigned to preside over the trials for Dayton, Frei and Hilgendorf.

UPDATED October 14, 2009 11:38 AM

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