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The trial of a North Iowa man charged with first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of a man in LuVerne begins Tuesday.

The Kossuth County Sheriff's Office arrested Jeffrey Lynn Winters, 61, of Livermore, in connection with the Aug. 27, 2018, death of Randy Merle Page, 54. 

Page's wife contacted authorities about 5:30 p.m. that day to report Page was found unresponsive on the floor of their garage in the 200 block of Hanna Avenue, according to the sheriff's office.

Winters was arrested on a warrant two days later. 

About 260 people live in the Kossuth County town of LuVerne, which is 19 miles southeast of Algona. 

Court documents indicate the state wishes to admit witness testimony that Winters is a marijuana dealer and Page was a middleman who sold marijuana for him.

Page allegedly told his wife two or three months before his death that he was done with that arrangement. 

Winters' attorneys from the state public defender office are trying to keep that testimony out of the trial, claiming is it not relevant and that Page's wife made contradictory statements under oath. 

A next-door neighbor reported hearing four to five gunshots, court documents said, while others told law enforcement they saw a man matching Winters' description at the residence on the day of Page's death. 

A witness told law enforcement that Page and Winters knew each other, charging documents said, which also noted there was "cell phone contact" between the two men at the time of the shooting.

According to court documents, another neighbor witnessed a vehicle matching the only vehicle registered to Winters, a 2005 Ford Explorer, leaving Page’s driveway and driving east “at a faster pace than normal.”

The LuVerne city video camera system captured an older silver Ford Explorer driving east on Smart Street, about a block from the scene shortly before Page's body was found. 

The vehicle then turned south on Dewitt Street before driving out of town, court documents said.

Deputies found four 9 mm bullet casings near Page's body, but didn't find a gun, charging documents said.

During a search of Winters’ residence, law enforcement found an empty handgun holster and rifle ammunition, according to court documents.

Winters also was charged with felony willful injury for stabbing a man on July 6, 2018, in a bar in Livermore, which is in Humboldt County.  

The charge was reduced to misdemeanor assault through a plea bargain, and Winters was sentenced earlier this month to 30 days in jail, to be served concurrently with the time he was already spending in jail while awaiting trial in the first-degree murder case, according to court documents. 

 

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Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.

 

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