Sometimes when two people meet, they make a powerful connection with each other within seconds. “Love at first sight” might only be the case in fairy tales, but you can definitely tell when you’ve met someone who is going to be important in your life.
Unfortunately, while you might feel that someone will earn a special place in your heart, you can never predict how they might change. Two young lovebirds in Iowa realized this the hard way not long after they announced their engagement. No one could have predicted what would happen next…
When Angie Van Huel of Waukee, Iowa met Justin Michael in 2013, it was as close to love at first sight as it could get. “After our third date,” she said. “I texted my friend and I said, ‘I am pretty sure I am going to marry this guy.'”
Justin and Angie seemed incredibly well-matched. Justin was passionate about community service and volunteered for Habitat For Humanity. Angie was a middle-school math teacher in her hometown. Giving back to their community was something they both greatly valued.
In August 2013, after just two months of dating, they decided to make it official and become engaged. Because of their whirlwind courtship, they planned on being engaged for a while before setting a date. Everyone who knew them was thrilled. All except one person, that is…
David Moffitt worked alongside Justin at Wells Fargo, and he did not wish the couple well. In fact, he was heartbroken. You see, Angie and David dated briefly, but when Angie met Justin, she ended things with David… over a text message.
Seeing the couple happy together left David bereft. Those feelings of heartbreak soon gave way to terrible anger. He told his therapist he was having “murderous thoughts.” And things didn’t end there…
As if that wasn’t concerning enough, David also ran searches on his computer for “how to get away with murder,” “love triangle murders,” “food that resembles the human skull,” “St. Anthony confession times,” and “what does hell look like.”
Soon, David’s anger and despair went beyond Internet searches. He started to spy on the house that Justin and Angie shared together. He made careful notice of all the potential entrances and exits and recorded different times of day the couple came and went.
Then, David began to make even more alarming moves. First, he acquired a fake ID with a new name—Andrew Wegener—which he happened to “borrow” from another one of Angie’s exes.
It only got scarier from there. After seeing an ad in the local paper for a gun being sold by a man named Drew Bahlmann (left), David reached out and purchased the firearm from Drew at his home, paying for it in cash.
Finally with all the pieces in place, on May 8, 2014, David broke into Justin and Angie’s house in the dead of night. He unplugged the DVD player in an attempt to make the break-in look like a robbery.
Being careful not to wake Justin’s mother who was visiting, David climbed the stairs to the master bedroom, opened the door, spotted the couple deeply asleep, and shot Justin four times. “I heard the bedroom door open, then I heard a pop, pop, pop,” said Angie.
Tragically, by the time the police arrived, Justin was dead and David had fled. Shockingly, he crashed his car escaping the scene and an off-duty officer arrived… only to unwittingly help David get a taxi ride home for the night!
However, David was only lucky for so long. The next morning while impounding the car, the police found two magazines filled with the ammo David used to kill Justin. They also found the fake ID he used to buy the gun for his heinous crime.
This was more than enough evidence to incriminate David, and on May 9 he was arrested on charges of burglary and murder. In a move that shocked everyone, David decided to plead insanity.
David’s lawyer, J. Keith Rigg, claimed that David experienced a psychotic breakdown following his breakup with Angie. He went on to posit that the drugs prescribed to him to treat this break had side effects that caused him to commit murder. “What happened here, for lack of a better term, is crazy,” his lawyer said.
State Prosecutor Steve Foritano wasn’t buying it. He pointed out that the murder was premeditated and well-planned. “David Moffitt had a plan,” he told the court. “He had a plan to kill Justin Michael. He took steps to not only execute that plan, but to blame other people.”
Thankfully, the jury agreed with the State, and David was found guilty of murder in the first degree. In the state of Iowa, that equated to life in jail without the possibility of ever getting parole. It was a moment of justice for the families.
“It has been an ordeal for the family in hearing all the details… but we are very pleased with the citizens of Des Moines who served on the jury and did their job according to what they heard,” said Justin’s father, Weldon Michael. “All we have for Justin is to make sure justice is served, and I think it was.”
For Angie, the wounds of the past were tough to heal. But she made a decision to move on with her life and live it to the best of her ability. She knew that was what her beloved Justin would have wanted.
On July 20, 2017, Angie married Tom Unger, a happy ending to a story riddled with tragedy and heartbreak. Meanwhile, David Moffitt will live out the rest of his days paying for the horrific crime of passion that he committed.
This is story is just so hard to think about. Poor Justin thought he had his whole life in front of him. He had no idea that one man could take that all away from him.
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