Iowa man sentenced to 57 years in prison for fatal 2018 stabbing

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man who was convicted of stabbing a Cedar Rapids man to death in retaliation for a theft from a drug dealer has been sentenced to 57 years in prison.

Drew Blahnik was sentenced earlier this month for killing Chris Bagley, 31, in December 2018 at a mobile home outside Cedar Rapids and then burying his body. Police found Bagley’s body in the backyard of a Cedar Rapids home in March 2019.

Prosecutors said Blahnik stabbed Bagley in retaliation for his robbery of a large-scale marijuana trafficker.

At trial, Blahnik’s lawyers acknowledged that he stabbed Bagley, but they argued that he was acting in self defense after Bagley waved a gun during a fight.

But another man, Drew Wagner, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Bagley’s death, testified that the gun was on the floor when Bagley was stabbed. Wagner has been sentenced to 47 years in prison.

Blahnik, who has since legally changed his name to Johnny Blahnik Church, was convicted earlier this year of second-degree murder, obstructing prosecution and abuse of a corpse.

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