Coralville man guilty in shooting death of Algona woman
Written by Caleb George on February 8, 2020
LU VERNE — A man who covered his face with a black ski mask before shooting a woman multiple times with a handgun outside of a bank in Lu Verne pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Friday, according to court documents.
Valentino Williams, 35, of Coralville, admitted that on Dec. 4 he shot and killed Jessica Weishaar, 45, of Algona.
The Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a possible shooting at Security State Bank in Lu Verne at about 8:40 a.m. that day.
When emergency personnel arrived on scene, they found Weishaar lying on the sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds. Weishaar, an employee of the bank, died at the scene.
According to the court documents, witnesses were able to describe a suspect and vehicle to assist law enforcement in the search for Williams.
A witness described a black male wearing a ski mask, while other witnesses described the vehicle as a dark-colored SUV or crossover with no front license plate.
Surveillance footage showed a suspect of “average height and wearing a dark colored Carhart-style coat with a hoodie pulled over his head,” the court documents say.
One witness followed the black vehicle out of Lu Verne at a high rate of speed. That witness eventually lost sight of the suspect around the area of Iowa Highway 17, where he was last seen heading north.
Less than an hour after the initial call about the shooting, Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers, Iowa State Patrol troopers, Division of Criminal Investigation agents and Kossuth County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop near mile marker 158 in the northbound lane of Interstate 35 in Franklin County. The traffic stop occurred at 9:38 a.m. and the vehicle and driver descriptions were consistent with witness reports and surveillance footage.
Williams was taken into custody without incident.
Iowa State Patrol troopers also located a black ski mask and black medical gloves along the roadway on county road B63. A local citizen found a green Carhart-style coat also along County Road B63 and turned it over to law enforcement. Officers also located zip ties, boots and jeans in the area.
A second dark green coat was located by law enforcement near West Twin Lake in rural Hancock County.
Inside that coat, court documents report, officers found a laminated card for a rented 2019 Mazda CX-5, with a vehicle identification number that matched that of the vehicle driven by Williams.
Law enforcement searched the vehicle, seizing an empty black duffel bag, a gray colored backpack, black spray paint and burglary tools.
The rental company confirmed to law enforcement that the vehicle was rented by Williams in Iowa City on Dec. 2 and was due back to the rental company on Dec. 5.
Williams was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to the victim’s family.
One count of first-degree robbery was dismissed as part of the plea.