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LU VERNE, Iowa (AP) — A violent Iowa convict who was on parole drove across the state in a rental car and fatally shot a small-town female bank employee during a robbery, prosecutors said Thursday in documents charging him with murder.
Valentino Williams, 35, of Coralville, was charged with first-degree murder and robbery in Wednesday's killing of 43-year-old Jessica Weisharr, of Algona.
Williams is accused of shooting Weisharr multiple times outside of the Security State Bank in Lu Verne, a northern Iowa town of about 250 people where she was working. Weisharr died at the scene.
Surveillance video showed a man wearing a dark coat with a hoodie over his head emerge from a black SUV carrying a backpack and a large handgun, investigators said in an affidavit. He's shown firing the gun several times before fleeing the scene.
Witnesses reported the fleeing vehicle to law enforcement, and officers conducted a traffic stop of a Mazda CX-5 matching the description about an hour after the shooting on Interstate 35. Williams was identified as the driver and detained.
Williams was sentenced to prison in 2010 for a robbery conviction in Johnson County. In 2017, he was granted work release to a Coralville halfway house and was granted parole the following year, Department of Corrections spokesman Cord Overton said. He has been under supervision since then and his parole was set to continue until 2023.
Investigators said they recovered a dark coat that had been abandoned on a rural road near Lu Verne that contained a laminated card for a Mazda CX-5 with the VIN number that matched the car Williams was driving. A rental car company confirmed that Williams rented the vehicle in Iowa City on Monday, and that it was due back on Thursday.
Williams needed permission to travel outside his home Johnson County, and he hadn't received approval to visit Kossuth County, his parole officer said in a complaint filed Thursday. Williams had only been given permission to travel to Black Hawk County “for the express purpose of pursuing school admissions,”the complaint said.
Kossuth County is about 100 miles northwest of Black Hawk County and about 200 miles northwest of Johnson County.