Personal connections means tough battle in Pottawattamie County

Published: May. 10, 2017 at 10:20 PM CDT
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Wesley Correa-Carmenaty sits in a new cell at the Woodbury County Jail. He's the man accused of killing deputy Mark Burbridge last week.

Now the search for justice begins in Iowa. It's a search that may take an emotional toll on those who are handling the work.

"Honestly some of the bigger challenges will just be myself emotionally dealing with this. I mean I worked with Mark these are my friends as well that are involved in this case,” said Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber.

Correa-Carmenaty was heavily guarded in his first appearance before an Iowa judge since the escape. Twelve deputies escorted Correa-Carmenaty into a Pottawattamie Courtroom Wednesday.

"You've got four of Mark's closest friends, I mean guys that had been pallbearers at his funeral on Monday,” said Wilber.

It's a tough road before them -- to focus on the work ahead after a friend is taken.

“The gentleman that's accused of killing their friend is getting brought in," he said. “It was rough on me. I can't imagine what it's like for those guys."

Wilber knows it's going to take time for the raw emotions to subside before others can get to work.

"I think if someone is to ask me could the defendant get a fair trial in Pottawattamie County today? Absolutely not,” Wilber admitted.

But He believes in time their emotions will have to cooled down. His team has until mid-August at the earliest to prepare their fair trial.

"I have a job to do and not only do I have to put on a tough case but I also have to make sure that the defendant gets a fair trial. That can be a tough job at times but that's my job and I'm going to do it,” he said.

But in 15 years of his work in the county, Wilber says what lies ahead will not only be a challenge but it will be a new one.

"I've handled a lot of big cases and I've handled a lot of important cases. I have never handled a case that I thought was as important to Pottawattamie County as this one,” Wilber told WOWT 6 News.