Davenport man on work release facing murder charge

Davenport man on work release facing murder charge

Updated: 4 months, 25 days, 21 hours, 51 minutes, 40 seconds ago

A Davenport man currently on work release is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of 58-year-old Ben Smith in June.

Larry Lavell Wiggins Jr., 29, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and willful injury causing serious injury.

First-degree murder is a Class A felony under Iowa law that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Willful injury is a Class C felony that carries a prison sentence of 10 years.

According to the arrest affidavit filed by Davenport Police Detective Elizabeth Tharp-Mayne, at 5:01 a.m. June 20, Davenport Police were sent to an assault at 515 W. 16th St., Apt. 2.

Officers arrived to find Wiggins gone, but officers found Smith in his apartment suffering from significant injuries.

Smith was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Campus, Davenport, for treatment.

During the investigation police determined that Wiggins had assaulted Smith “over a significant amount of time.”

Smith died of his injuries on June 22.

Police worked to locate Wiggins. He was apprehended Tuesday by the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force.

Wiggins was being held Thursday night in the Scott County Jail without bond on the murder charge.

Wiggins also is charged with eluding and child endangerment from an incident on May 10 when he fled Scott County Sheriff’s Deputies after an incident at West Lake Park Lakeview Shelter.

According to the arrest affidavit filed by Scott County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Rogalla, Wiggins fled law enforcement at high speeds and used the shoulder of the road to pass squads going to the incident. Wiggins then fled at a high rate of speed on 110th Avenue using the left lane for unlawful passing.

Wiggins had his 1-year-old son in the vehicle at the time and was driving under suspension.

Wiggins bond is that case is set at $4,000, cash only.

During a first appearance on the charges Wednesday in Scott County District Court, Magistrate Christine Frederick scheduled a preliminary hearing in the cases for Nov. 4. 

Wiggins currently is on work release, according to Iowa Department of Corrections electronic records. 

According to Scott County District Court electronic records, on Feb. 6, 2019, Wiggins was convicted by a Scott County jury of possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine after he was caught by Davenport Police on May 25, 2018, with MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Wiggins also had an amount of marijuana in bags ready for sale, and he failed to have an Iowa tax stamp on the drugs. He also had an amount of "crack" cocaine in his possession. 

The jury convicted him on those charges, too.

On March 22, 2019, Wiggins was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the meth charge, and to concurrent terms of five years in prison each on the marijuana and Iowa drug tax stamp violations. He was sentenced to a 120 day in the Scott County Jail for the cocaine possession charge.

Wiggins was given credit for time served in the Scott County Jail awaiting trial and sentencing in the case.  

On April 18, 2019, he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of criminal mischief. That sentence was to run concurrently to Wiggins’ sentence on the drug convictions.

According to Iowa Department of Corrections electronic records, Wiggins was released from prison and placed on parole on May 5, 2020. He was taken off of parole and placed on work release on Aug. 18, 2021.

Before his arrest for the murder of Smith, Wiggins was to have been on work release until March 12, 2023.











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