Des Moines Police Officer Steven J. Underwood is shot and killed on March 7, 2001.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 7/18/2002
  • Essay 3897
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On March 7, 2001, at approximately 1:20 a.m, Des Moines Police Officer Steven J. Underwood is shot and killed on Pacific Highway S. Charles Sydney Champion Jr., age 19, is charged with the crime. In January 2005 he will be sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison.

According to court documents filed by the prosecuting attorney, Underwood was on patrol when he recognized Champion, who was the subject of an arrest warrant, as one of four men walking along Pacific Highway S. Underwood radioed this to Des Moines Police headquarters and proceeded to stop the individuals.

The state alleges that Champion shot Underwood four times, killing him.

After a trial fraught with many delays (it was one of the longest running trials in state history), Judge Anthony Wartnik sentenced Charles Champion, who had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, to nearly 34 years in prison on January 19, 2005.


"Police Find 3 At Scene When Officer Slain," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 15, 2001 (http: //; Sam Skolnik, "Champion Sentenced to Nearly 34 Years," Ibid., January 20, 2005.
Note: This file was corrected on August 8, 2002, and updated on January 23, 2005.

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