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Iowa Court of Appeals upholds Waterloo man’s conviction in 2017 murder

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Armando Adame III

FLOYD COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a Waterloo man who killed a Grundy Center man in October 2017 after a drug deal gone wrong.

Armando Adame III, 30, of Waterloo, shot and killed Michael Bruce Johns, 28, of Grundy Center with a sawed-off shotgun along a rural Floyd County road on Oct. 25, 2017. Johns' body wasn't found until December 2017.

Police say the men had been arguing as they drove around Floyd County when they stopped on a gravel road. The men had been driving around the state looking for meth to sell, making stops in Grundy Center, Marshalltown, Tama, and Charles City. Investigators say Adame and Johns got out of the vehicle before Adame shot Johns in the head.

Adame was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in October 2018 on weapons charges related to the case, but wasn't charged with Johns' murder until January 2019.

He appealed his First Degree Murder conviction, arguing hit trial was tainted, saying some of the witness testimony was inadmissible. He argued jurors shouldn't have heard about a confrontation between Adame and Johns just weeks before Johns was killed.

A former girlfriend of Johns said she came home one night and saw Adame and Johns arguing over money Johns owed Adame. When she walked in, Adame pointed the same sawed-off shotgun that was used to kill Johns at her.

In upholding the conviction, the Iowa Court of Appeals said the testimony was proper and relevant because it showed intent and motive to kill Johns and the confrontation also involved the same weapon that was eventually used to kill Johns.

You can read the court's full ruling here: