When you think of cold-blooded murder, cities named Chicago and Detroit come to mind.

But lately small towns like Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and North Liberty can sadly claim the title of "Murder City, U.S.A."

On March 30, Lamar Wilson was sentenced to 24 years in prison for killing Kaleek Jones last year at the Ped Mall in Iowa City. The judge who sentenced Wilson noted that the murderer hadn't expressed any remorse for the shooting that took Jones' life.

Just this week in North Liberty, 38 year-old Justin DeWitt recently pleaded guilty to four charges of attempted murder in a disturbing killer-for-hire case. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, DeWitt allegedly attempted to hire a hit man to kill a former business associate, wife and their two young children.

If you're asking WTF is going on in Iowa, you're not the only one. It seems every day shots are being fired in neighborhoods all across our state. Many times the victims and shooters know each other, or there is "bad blood" between families. But it's not just gang violence or domestic disputes flaring up.  Some of it is completely random.

Consider the recent killing of Gina Fredericksen, a burglary victim who was savagely beaten and killed on April 29 in Cedar Rapids. 38 year-old Timothy Evans is charged with first degree murder after allegedly killing Gina and setting her garage on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.

It's a sad reality of small town America. It used to be the "safe place" to live. Not so much anymore.

[source: GazettePress-Citizen]