An eastern Iowa jury has convicted a Cedar Rapids man of first-degree murder in connection with the bar stool-beating death of a western Iowa man. Jurors in Linn County District Court returned their guilty verdict Monday against 26-year-old Christopher R. Smith.
Smith was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the December 2006 death of 24-year-old Robert Nelson of Atlantic, who moved to Cedar Rapids just two months earlier. Nelson’s body was found in his apartment. In a taped confession, Schmidt said he killed Nelson as the men argued over money related to car repairs. He initially denied killing Nelson, but later admitted to hitting him with two bar stools.
Schmidt’s comments were barred from his trial because they came after he’d already told investigators he didn’t want to talk. The defense presented no evidence during the trial, which began October 29th. When sentenced, Schmidt will likely spend the rest of his life in jail. His sentencing date has not yet been set. Nelson graduated from the Atlantic High School in 2000. He’d moved to Cedar Rapids to be closer to his sisters.