Attempted murder charges dropped due to trial delay

gavel and sounding block on desk

An Oskaloosa man charged in Monroe County with attempted murder and other serious crimes saw several charges dropped Monday due to lack of a speedy trial and has also petitioned the court to drop more charges for the same reason.

Joshua James Burk, 44, of Oskaloosa, was charged with attempted murder and other crimes in connection with a hit-and-run in Albia that occurred on Dec. 6, 2020.

According to the Albia Police Department, officers and members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of a man lying in the road in the 200 block of 2nd Ave East at approximately 9:35 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2020.

The 36-year-old victim gave a description of the vehicle that struck him and identified Burk as the driver. Officers also collected video footage of the vehicle striking the victim after speeding toward him and then leaving the scene as the victim was on the ground.

The vehicle then headed north out of Albia and Monroe County deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, but it fled, with the chase reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

Burk was later taken into custody on Dec. 22, 2020 in Oskaloosa and charged with attempted murder, a class B felony, eluding with injury, OWI, drugs or while participating in a felony, a class D felony, driving while barred, an aggravated misdemeanor, leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanor, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, violation of a no contact order, speeding greater than 25 miles over in a road work zone, driving on the wrong side of a highway, fraudulent use of registration, and two counts of failure to obey a stop sign.

Burk has remained in custody since his arrest and Monday, June 28 Judge Joel D. Yates of the Eighth Judicial District ordered the attempted murder charge, the eluding charge and the driving while barred charges dismissed because Burk’s right to a speedy trial had been violated.

Iowa law states that a trial must begin within 90 days of indictment unless the defendant has waived their right to a speedy trial or good cause is shown.

Monroe County Attorney John Pabst in his response to the initial motion to dismiss filed by Burk’s current attorney James Underwood stated that arraignments were continuously postponed on the request of Burk’s then attorney Steven Goodlow before Goodlow eventually filed a motion to withdraw from the case on May 5, 2020 and that the state did not consent to the continuances.

The motion stated that since the continuances were entered into at the request of defense counsel no delays should be attributable to the state.

Yates stated in his ruling dismissing the charges that since Burk did not waive his right to a speedy trial it was the state’s responsibility to come to trial by the 90-day deadline. Yates stated in his ruling that since trial information was filed Feb. 5, 2021 the state had to commence trial by May 6, 2020 and since they failed to do so, the charges would be dropped.

As of Tuesday, June 29 there is still a motion pending to dismiss the charge of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury.

Burk has previously been found guilty by the court of several other charges in the case including speeding greater than 25 miles over in a road work zone, driving on the wrong side of a highway, fraudulent use of registration, and failure to obey a stop sign.