Authorities in Iowa have arrested and charged a 23-year-old man with murder after troopers discovered a dead body in a stalled car he was driving when he asked them for a jump start. According to Law & Crime, the suspect, identified as Jihad Abdul Malik Gasaway, had covered the deceased victim’s body with clothing when the officers made the discovery on Tuesday.
Authorities said the Chevrolet Malibu Gasaway was driving had stalled when a trooper responded to the scene. An affidavit also stated that the suspect had exited the vehicle when the officers arrived. The suspect is said to have told the officers that he was in possession of a gun and he needed a jump. The affidavit stated that it was later established the gun was the murder weapon.
“Upon further investigation, another male was located in the front passenger seat of the vehicle,” the affidavit added. “The male was covered with miscellaneous clothing and was not responding to the troopers.”
The deceased victim was identified as 26-year-old Kemp Xavier Sherrod Harriel. Troopers in the affidavit also stated that Gasaway failed to call 911 to ask for medical help or inform them about a dead person being in the vehicle.
They said the victim’s body was covered in clothing, and Gasaway did that to hide him, Law & Crime reported. The suspect, however, later told investigators that he covered Harriel’s body because he “thought he was very cold” and “kept him warm because we were both cold,” the affidavit stated.
“I didn’t know (victim) was gone until I watched the police eyes and read his lips. That’s when I started crying in the car. He was alive and talking to me.”
Gasaway is said to have also told investigators that Harriel was alive before the vehicle went into a ditch. And when he was asked what led to the victim’s death, the 23-year-old said, “We got into it.”
Gasaway has since been charged with murder and abuse of a corpse.