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Suspect in Lu Verne bank murder is former felon

LU VERNE — More is being learned about the man being held for Wednesday’s murder of a bank employee in the Kossuth County town of Lu Verne. 

35-year-old Valentino Williams of Coralville was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Wednesday’s killing of 43-year-old Jessica Weisharr, of Algona. Williams is accused of shooting Weisharr multiple times outside of the Security State Bank. Weisharr died at the scene.

Prosecutors say Williams was on parole, drove across the state in a rental car, and fatally shot Weisharr during the bank robbery. 

Investigators say in court documents that surveillance video showed a man wearing a dark coat with a hoodie over his head emerge from a black SUV carrying a backpack and a large handgun. He’s shown firing the gun several times before fleeing the scene.

Witnesses reported the fleeing vehicle to law enforcement, and officers conducted a traffic stop of a Mazda CX-5 matching the description about an hour after the shooting on Interstate 35. Williams was identified as the driver and detained.

An Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman says Williams was sentenced to prison in 2010 for a robbery conviction in Johnson County. In 2017, he was granted work release to a Coralville halfway house and was granted parole the following year. He has been under supervision since then and his parole was set to continue until 2023.

Investigators said they recovered a dark coat that had been abandoned on a rural road near Lu Verne that contained a laminated card for a Mazda CX-5 with the VIN number that matched the car Williams was driving. A rental car company confirmed that Williams rented the vehicle in Iowa City on Monday, and that it was due back on Thursday.


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