Waiting for Justice: Five months, no charges - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waiting for Justice: Five months, no charges

by Jamie Grey

DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -- In a special report, "Waiting for Justice", KWWL is investigating the criminal justice system and the often lengthy process of catching and convicting criminals. In part one, we speak to the family of a homicide victim, in a case where no one was ever jailed.

On November 29, 2008 the walkway and parking lot of a Dyersville apartment became the scene of a fatal shooting. A 24-year-old man David Herman and his family were being evicted from their apartment. A locksmith, Christopher Leppert, came to change the locks.

But during that process, authorities say a fight ensued, and Herman was shot and killed. Five months later, there are no charges.

Thanksgiving weekend last fall, just after dinner, David Herman's mother gets a phone call.

"His girlfriend called and started screaming David had been shot. We headed to Dyersville and went to the hospital, but he was already gone," Dana Bond, David's mother, said.

Meantime, in Cedar Rapids, his older sister Jennifer gets a similar call.

"She cried and said David got shot, and he was gone. I didn't know what to think," Jennifer Herman, David's sister, said.

The Dubuque County Sheriff's Department says David was fighting with the locksmith, exchanging blows. At some point, officials say the locksmith fired a gun twice, fatally wounding David.  Leppert was giving Herman CPR when emergency crews arrived.

"They said they had the guy that shot him, so I assumed they were going to charge him and stuff. I found out later, he didn't even go to jail," Bond said.

County attorney Ralph Potter says no charges will be pressed until the crime lab sends back evidence, if any are pressed at all. That evidence could prove the locksmith was acting in self-defense.  Authorities say Leppert cooperated with the investigation.

Meantime, David's family can't believe David would get into a fight that cost him his life, or that someone would feel threatened by him.

"I can't fathom it at all. It's out of his character," Bond said.

"This family needs some justice. And it seems extremely unfair that we're sitting here waiting," Vicki Bond, David's aunt, said.

Waiting with nothing left but memories and photos.

"I'm tired of looking at his pictures. I shouldn't be looking at his pictures. I should be hearing his voice on the phone. I should be seeing him. I should be touching him. He should be here," Herman said.

Now, the family is waiting for answers: lab results, and calls from attorneys and investigators.

"I go home everyday and look at the caller id, but never no call," Bond said.

"I just don't understand. I don't understand what happened," Herman said.

State crime lab officials say right now, their oldest, active cases have been around five to six months at most, but up to seven months in firearms.

The lead investigator in this case says the evidence is complicated and must go through a series of tests in a specific order, perhaps explaining the delay.

Leppert declined to speak with the media.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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