Former University of Iowa music professor faces drug, child pornography charges
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A former University of Iowa music professor is facing federal charges of possession of child pornography and distribution of meth, resulting in death.
John Muriello, 65, of Iowa City, is accused of buying meth, as much as an ounce or more at a time, from a supplier in California, and having multiple electronic devices containing thousands of pornographic media files.
Muriello was placed on leave in May when the investigation began. He retired in July.
Court documents say Muriello and a man named Eric Hojka had communicated with the supplier via telephone and zoom since 2020, and that Hojka was a regular meth user.
Officials said their investigation revealed Hojka called emergency services at 6 a.m. on May 12, 2021 after finding a person unconscious. That person was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Investigators said an autopsy determined the person died of methamphetamine intoxication, after a “recent minute needle puncture mark” was found.
Hojka pleaded guilty in federal court on May 18, to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams and more of methamphetamine, resulting in the death of the man.
Police said they searched Muriello’s Iowa City residence on May 28, 2021 and found three separate packages containing meth, as well as numerous electronic devices containing child pornography. Officials said one external harddrive alone contained a total of 18,580 photos and 3,183 videos, nearly all of which were pornographic media.
Additionally, investigators said one computer was found to have chats involving the use and distribution of drugs and child pornography.
Muriello is being held in the Muscatine County Jail. His trial is scheduled for December.
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