Washington man arrested for murder

By David Hotle and Grace King, Golden Triangle News Service


A Washington man has been arrested and will face first-degree murder charges following the investigation of a suspicious death on Wednesday.

Clarence Dean Pedersen, 64, of Washington, was arrested Wednesday night and is set to be charged with first-degree murder after Ed E. Jones was found deceased in Pedersen?s apartment.

Pedersen is being held under $1 million bond and his first appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m., July 20 in the Washington County Courthouse.

Washington Police responded to a 911 call at approximately 7:56 a.m., Wednesday, July 11, at an apartment complex located at 601 W. Adams St., later identified as Pedersen?s home. At the residence, Jones, 70, of Washington, was found deceased. His death was first labled suspicious.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent in charge Richard Rahn said investigators have found several pieces of evidence pointing to Pedersen being involved with Jones? death, including a knife found at the scene. Rahn said during the initial investigation there were ?strong indications? that Jones had been murdered with a knife, although an autopsy will need to be done to confirm the cause of death.

The knife found at the scene was allegedly similar to a knife Pedersen said he owned, Rahn stated. Pedersen was also allegedly found with a note reading, ?kill Ed.?

?There was some paperwork we found giving indication that Pedersen was involved in Jones? death,? Rahn added.

Pedersen and Jones had been roommates at the time of the incident. ?In any investigation we always start looking at any known associates and anyone who is in contact with the victim on a regular basis,? Rahn said. ?We start looking at those people to see if they may have played a role in the death. Certainly as a roommate Pedersen was one person to be interviewed. From those interviews, it just started pointing in the direction Pedersen was involved.?

Pedersen had been charged with murder in the past.

According to court records, Pederson was charged with the murder of Kent Nelson, his brother-in-law on Dec. 30, 1978, after Nelson was found dead in Pederson?s parent?s home in southwest Iowa. He died of a gunshot wound.

Pedersen denied throughout the investigation that he shot Nelson. During his trial he refused legal counsel, representing himself and did not participate in questioning witnesses, objecting, presenting evidence, requesting jury instructions or objecting to instructions or arguing to the jury. Pedersen was convicted and faced life in prison.

In 1981, his appeals reached the Iowa Supreme Court, who found that "from mental illness, defendant was unable to assist effectively in his defense. His conviction cannot stand, consistently with due process of law."

This story has been updated.