Iowa Killer Skips City Day Jury Finds Him Guilty of Murdering Wife of 40 Years

An Iowa man who killed his wife of 40 years disappeared Friday just before a jury could announce their guilty verdict.

Gregory Allen Showalter, 63, was served with an arrest warrant after he failed to appear for the final day of his trial in Ottumwa, a city about 90 miles southeast of Des Moines.

The fugitive has since turned off his mobile phone and cut off his GPS ankle monitor.

Showalter should be considered “armed and dangerous,” the state Department of Public Safety warned.

He had been free on bail since August 2021, when a judge allowed him to post 10% of his $250,000 bail as long as he attended court hearings and wore the ankle monitor, the Ottumwa Courier reported.

Showalter was charged in August 2021 with the murder of his wife, Helen Showalter, 60, just days after her body was found floating in the Des Moines River.

Prosecutors said the two were in the middle of a divorce when Showalter lured Helen to a workplace, where he strangled her to death.

After returning home, he told the family that he and Helen had gotten into a fight and left her walking home before sending them to pick her up.

Showalter strangled Helen Showalter and dumped her body in the Des Moines River.DPS

Traces of her blood were later found in his car, which he used to transport her body to the river.

The killer reportedly left his home on foot on Friday after relinquishing ownership of his car to a friend.

He “made a comment about not needing those keys anymore,” the woman told officers.

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Police deployed a trained tracking canine in a wooded area. The dog followed a trail to the Stardust Motel, about 1,000 feet from his residence, but was unable to locate Showalter, according to the Ottumwa Courier.

Mugshot of Gregory Allen Showalter Sr.Showalter cut off his ankle monitor and turned off his cell phone.Ottumwa Police

While police searched for Showalter, the judge ordered the verdict to be read, citing Iowa court rules in cases where a person on trial voluntarily absents himself.

The jury found Showalter guilty of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, intentional injury causing serious injury and domestic abuse by strangulation or impeding blood circulation.

He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole if authorities find him.

The daring escape comes just three days after a Louisiana fugitive was dragged back to the United States from Mexico after spending 32 years on the run.

Greg Lawson, 63, fled under eerily similar circumstances: He disappeared on the same day a jury was prepared to read a guilty verdict for the attempted murder of his lifelong friend.

Lawson was seen laughing as police handcuffed him again.

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