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Suspect in Central City homicide: ‘It just got out of hand’

Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

A Central City man accused of killing a Cedar Rapids man last Thursday told police “it just got out of hand” while being treated for injuries at a local hospital, according to a criminal complaint.

A judge set a $500,000 cash-only bond for Martin Wilkinson, 63, who was formally charged Tuesday in Linn County District Court with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is accused of shooting and killing Gregory O’Hare, 47, of Cedar Rapids, with an Astra A-7 handgun last Thursday.

Wilkinson, who appeared by video from the Linn County Jail, didn’t say anything except to answer the judge’s questions about his employment and an attorney. He said he wasn’t employed and relied on Social Security for his income.

The Linn County Attorney’s Office asked the court to set a bond, and the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services recommended no release based on the nature of the alleged crime and Wilkinson’s previous criminal history. Wilkinson has previous convictions for two OWIs, escape, intoxication and interference with official acts.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses who heard gunshots Thursday discovered O’Hare’s body Friday in a rural area a short distance from Wikinson’s home at 2567 Windy Hill Circle near Central City, according to the criminal complaint. Investigators discovered a trail of blood and tire tracks leading from the body to an ATV parked near Wilkinson’s house. Blood was also found on the ATV and on the ground outside the house.

After a standoff with police at Wilkinson’s home last Friday, a search warrant was obtained. Officers arrested Wilkinson and found several firearms inside the home, including the loaded 9mm Astra that was used in the shooting.

According to an autopsy, O’Hare was shot at least eight times, including five shots that went into his back. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Wilkinson, while being treated at Mercy Medical Center for injuries suffered prior to the standoff, made the statement “It just got out of hand,” according to the criminal complaint. No further information about the incident was was included in the complaint.

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