Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homicide results from chess-game altercation.

Police: Homicide apparently results from chess-game altercation
By: Ashton Shurson - The Daily Iowan

Posted: 10/20/08

Neighbors and friends said on Sunday that they were "shocked" to hear about a killing of a man allegedly by his apparent friend in a quiet Iowa City neighborhood.

Police charged David Christian, 29, 418 Brown St. Apt. 6, in the death of 39-year-old Michael Steward, 418 Brown St. Apt. 4, at Christian's apartment early Sunday morning after an alleged altercation over a game of chess.Christian faces charges of second-degree murder and public intoxication.

As of Sunday night, he was being held at Johnson County Jail on a $25,300 bond.This ...Police believe Christian and Steward argued over a chess match, which eventually "escalated into a physical altercation" and resulted in the death of Steward.

Officers responded to Christian's home for medical assistance at 3:08 a.m. Sunday and found Steward unconscious, police said. Steward was taken to Mercy Hospital and declared dead shortly after, authorities said.

The duo's night ended with tragedy, people who knew Steward and Christian said the two were friends. Jay Schleidt - who lives in the apartment complex beside the two men - said he thought Steward and Christian were really good friends who often spent time together.

"I'm pretty shocked," Schleidt said. "I saw them both a day or so ago." He said the two played chess daily and frequently played Scrabble as well. They liked to listen to music and discuss politics with one another, he said.

The two also drank "quite a bit," the 28-year-old neighbor said."They were very quiet and nice people," Schledit said. "It might have been that [Christian] was too drunk."

Gail Cox, who lives a floor above the two men, said she thinks Christian and Steward would spend time together frequently and smoke and drink outside. "It surprised me because of who they are," Cox said, referring to their friendship.

Other neighbors were dismayed to hear of an alleged homicide in the Gaslight Village - a place known as a "haven" and "sanctuary" for artists and writers who want to live in a quiet, secluded environment, according a website for the neighborhood.

Jess Eaton, another resident of the village, said she didn't know the two men but couldn't believe this had happened."We were just talking about how peaceful this area was," Eaton said.

Joe Miller, who is staying with a friend in a building next to Steward's and Christian's, said he came home around 4 a.m. Sunday and saw police cars and ambulances."I woke up [the next morning] and people were crying," Miller said. "It was really intense.

"On Sunday afternoon, Christian's parents arrived at the apartment complex, but his father, Roger Christian, refused to speak to reporters.

Second-degree murder, a Class B felony, is punishable by 50 years in prison.Police said the investigation continues and autopsy results are expected early this week.

© Copyright 2008 Daily Iowan

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