POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa — A man previously charged with abuse of a corpse after another man’s body was found in his vehicle along I-80 in Poweshiek County is now charged with first-degree murder.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said the additional charge was filed Thursday against Jihad Gasaway, 23, of Cedar Rapids. Investigators say he shot and killed Kemp Xavier Sherrod Harriel, 26, on Tuesday morning.
Law enforcement first became involved around 8:10 a.m. Tuesday when they observed a Chevy Malibu stopped along the side of westbound I-80 near the 188-mile marker, under the 80th Street overpass.
According to online court records, Iowa State Patrol troopers saw Gasaway outside of the vehicle and he told them his car had stalled and he needed a jump start. After more conversation with the troopers, Gasaway told them he had a firearm and they were able to secure a Taurus 9mm handgun.
Troopers examined the vehicle closer and Harriel was found in the passenger seat “covered with miscellaneous clothing and was not responding to the troopers.” He was found to be deceased from apparent gunshot wounds.
According to an affidavit, Gasaway told the troopers that Harriel was alive when he pulled the car over and, when asked what happened to Harriel, said they had “got into it.” Gasaway also told them that he had covered Harriel with the clothing because he thought “he was very cold and kept him warm because they were both cold,” the affidavit states.
During a search of the car, investigators found a 9mm shell casing on the floor and two fired bullets in the front passenger door, court documents state. The found casing was determined to have come from the firearm that Gasaway gave to the troopers.
Gasaway was booked into the Poweshiek County Jail on Tuesday on a $50,000 cash-only bond. He is expected to appear at a preliminary hearing on Oct. 12.