Ottumwa Police told PEOPLE that Gregory Showalter was arrested after he failed to appear in court when the jury came back with its verdict in his first-degree murder trial
An Iowa man was arrested 20 hours after failing to appear in court the day he was found guilty of murdering his wife in 2021.
Sgt. Derek Shaw with the Ottumwa Police told PEOPLE that Gregory Showalter Sr., 63, was found guilty on Friday of murder in the first degree, abuse of a corpse, willful injury causing serious injury, and domestic abuse assault impeding air/blood flow causing bloody injury.
According to Sgt. Shaw, Showalter had posted bond and was “out in the community” while he awaited trial.
On Showalter’s failure to appear in court Friday, Sgt. Shaw told PEOPLE: “His trial came and he was appearing throughout the week and then on Friday when they took their lunch break and the jury had come back with a verdict, he was supposed to come back after the lunch break and he never returned.”
Sgt. Shaw. said that police and other agencies then searched Showalter’s residence, where they determined that he had fled into the wooded area behind his home in Ottumwa, Iowa. Several canines were “able to track him for quite a distance before they lost his trail,” Shaw added.
After the judge canceled Showalter’s bond and issued an arrest warrant for his failure to appear on return of a jury verdict on all four counts, Sgt. Shaw said Ottumwa Police followed up on Saturday at Showalter's residence. After getting consent to search the premises, officers “located [Showalter] hiding inside.”
According to the Ottumwa Courier, Lt. Jason Bell told the outlet that authorities arrested Showalter at his home at around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety previously warned that Showalter was “considered armed and dangerous.”
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Sgt. Shaw confirmed to PEOPLE that Showalter was charged with interference on official acts in regards to his actions and booked at the Wapello County Jail. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16, online records show.
Showalter turned himself in on Aug. 3, 2021, for allegedly killing his 60-year-old wife, Helen Showalter, on July 31, 2021, at a job site on Pennsylvania Avenue in Ottumwa while they were in the process of divorcing after 40 years of marriage, the Ottumwa Courier reported.
According to the publication, Showalter dumped his wife’s corpse into the Cliffland River Access area of the Des Moines River, where her body was spotted by a civilian the day after her family reported her missing.
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