Suspect charged nearly 7 years after Iowa architect’s death

Dec 20, 2022, 11:25 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 1:35 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Nearly seven years after the death of a prominent Des Moines architect, police have arrested a suspect.

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek said investigators uncovered enough evidence to charge Zachary Allen Gaskill on Wednesday with second-degree murder in the January 2016 death of Kirk Blunck. The 62-year-old was found severely injured in the stairwell of a building he had renovated where he had an office. He died later.

The Polk County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma due to a fall from height.

Parizek didn’t say what evidence led to the arrest, but he said Gaskill was identified as one of the people in surveillance photos taken near where Blunk had died.

But in 2018, a judge ordered Gaskill to pay Blunck’s family $6.25 million after they alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit that Gaskill attacked Blunck and caused his death.

Online court records do not list an attorney for Gaskill, who is being held without bail in the Polk County Jail.

The Blunck family’s attorney Grant Woodard praised investigators’ “determination and efforts.”

“The Blunck family is very pleased that the process of justice for Kirk continues,” Woodard said.

In his career, Blunck specialized in renovating historic buildings and led efforts to revitalize the East Village and Sherman Hill neighborhoods of Des Moines.

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