DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines man has been charged with murder in the 2016 death of an architect found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell in the East Village.
The Des Moines Police Department announced the arrest of 32-year-old Zachary Gaskill on Wednesday. He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kirk Blunck.
Blunck was found in the stairwell of the Teachout Building at 500 East Locust on January 24, 2016. Police said he was injured and died shortly after being found. According to the Polk County Medical Examiner, Blunck’s cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma due to a fall from height.
Surveillance photos from the area were shared with the media in order to help identify people who may have information about the incident. Gaskill was identified in those photos.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in civil court against Gaskill by Blunck’s family in 2017. The petition claimed that Blunck’s death was the result of a violent confrontation and battery by Gaskill. He did not appear in court to challenge the petition and in 2018 a judge ruled in favor of Blunck’s family for damages of $6,125,000.
Police said during the six-year investigation detectives were able to identify facts that supported the second-degree murder charge against Gaskill.
He was booked into the Polk County Jail just after noon Wednesday.