OTTUMWA, Iowa — An Iowa man who failed to show up for the guilty verdict at his murder trial has been found and taken into custody, state officials announced Saturday.
In a brief statement, the Iowa Department of Public Safety thanked everyone who provided information that led to the arrest of Gregory Showalter Sr. of Ottumwa and said more details would be released later. The statement did not provide any additional information about Showalter’s arrest or how or where authorities found him.
A judge issued an arrest warrant for Showalter after he missed the reading of the jury verdict on Friday, according to the Ottumwa Courier. He was convicted of killing his wife, 60-year-old Helen Showalter.
Showalter, 63, had been out on bail since August 2021, when a judge allowed him to post 10% of his $250,000 bond as long as he attended court hearings and wore a GPS monitor.
Prosecutors argued that Showalter strangled his wife on July 31, 2021, then dumped her body along the Des Moines River near Ottumwa. Her body was found floating in the river the next morning. Defense attorney Robert Breckenridge argued that state’s investigation relied on assumptions and that some evidence was not tested.
Jurors reached a verdict just after 1 p.m. Friday and Showalter’s lawyer said he called his client and told him to come to the Wapello County Courthouse. When Showalter didn’t arrive, his attorney contacted the judge as well as officers, who checked his home.
While police searched for Showalter, the judge ordered that the verdict be read, citing Iowa court rules in cases where a person on trial is voluntarily absent.
Ottumwa Police Lt. Jason Bell said when police went to Showalter’s home, a friend who was outside said Showalter had given her keys to his vehicle “and made a comment about not needing those keys anymore.” The woman said she thought he was going to walk to the courthouse and didn’t know where he had gone.
Police said Showalter’s cellphone had been turned off about 1:30 p.m. and that he had cut off his GPS monitor.
Showalter’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16. In Iowa, first-degree murder carries a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.