Brothers Brawl in Courtroom During Murder TrialSTEVEN P. ROSENFELD , Associated Press
Feb. 16, 1990 5:24 PM ET
NEVADA, IOWA NEVADA, Iowa (AP) _ The murder trial of a man accused of helping to kill and decapitate his brother's girlfriend was halted Friday when the brothers got into a fistfight in court.
The scuffle erupted as Eustaquio Deases was called to testify in the trial of his brother Ruben, who according to witnesses described the killing in the style of a rap singer.
As Eustaquio, 23, was led into the courtroom, he lunged across the defense table, swinging at Ruben and cursing him. Ruben struck back, and the men scuffled until they were separated by sheriff's deputies and defense lawyers.
The jury was asked to leave, and District Judge M.D. Seiser called a recess.
Ruben, who turned 18 Monday, is on trial in Story County District Court for first-degree murder in the May 28 death of Jennifer Ann Gardner, 20, who shared an apartment with Eustaquio. Another brother, Edward Deases, 21, awaits trial on the same charge.
Eustaquio is in prison on a federal drug charge.
Another brother, Johnny Deases, testified previously that Edward and Ruben planned to kill Ms. Gardner because they believed she stood in the way of Edward's advancement in a drug-dealing business allegedly run by Eustaquio.
Earlier Friday, Jack Leinen, a former youth service worker at the Meyer Hall juvenile detention center in Des Moines, testified he'd heard Ruben describe the crime, using the style of a rap song.
''She thought she was cool, and I was a fool. And now she's dead, and I'm ahead,'' Leinen recalled the defendant saying.
The victim's head was found in a roadside ditch south of Ames by a jogger May 29 and her torso was discovered in a lake north of the city June 1.
Glenn Kirkpatrick, a youth services worker at the State Training School at Eldora, said he overheard Ruben Deases tell another inmate ''that he had helped kill this gal and helped behead her.''
Kirkpatrick said he took the statement to be a boast and conceded in cross examination that tough-guy bragging is common among youths detained at the school.
Lynn Balbanz, also a youth service worker at Eldora, said he overheard Ruben Deases rap to other inmates that his brother had killed a girl.
Monica Meister said she was supervising Ruben at a laundry at the institution when he rapped, ''I knew a girl named Jennifer Gardner, she was a dancer, she was going to narc my brother off, my brother did her in and now I'm doing time.''
''Narc off'' is an apparent reference to turning in a drug dealer, lawyers said earlier.
Johnny Deases, 16, previously testified Ruben choked Ms. Gardner unconscious with his arms and that Edward strangled her with a belt.