IOWA CITY — A Wilton, Iowa,  man is accused of killing a 75-year-old Iowa City man while he was in Iowa City celebrating his 21st birthday.

Curtis John Fry is charged with second-degree murder and was being held Monday in the Johnson County Jail on $1 million bond.

Jerome August “Patrick” McEwen was found dead at 3:44 p.m. Feb. 7 inside his Iowa City apartment on Van Buren Street, where the door showed signs of forced entry. He had head, face and rib injuries and  defensive wounds to his hand, according to a statement by the Iowa City Police Department.

Fry’s wallet and a pair of blood-stained jeans were found in McEwen’s bedroom, and a jacket was left behind on the second floor of McEwen’s apartment building. Police believe the jeans and jacket belong to Fry.

Fry’s brother twice reported to police that Curtis Fry was missing in the area of 513 S. Van Buren St. —  once at 1:15 a.m. Feb. 7 and again at 2:30 a.m. When Fry’s brother found him later that morning, Curtis Fry had no pants and was wearing two coats his brother did not recognize.

Police also said between

1:30 and 3 a.m. Feb. 7, Fry called an acquaintance and said that he had hit “a guy” who was “freaking him out because he was gurgling” and Fry thought the “guy was dying.”

Fry’s parents, Jim and Cathy Fry, founded Miracles Can Happen Boys Ranch in Wilton. Curtis Fry previously worked full time for the religion-based home-setting correctional facility for boys ages 14-18. The facility has a goal of teaching Christian values and work ethic.

Fry is a 2005 graduate of Wilton High School who played on the Wilton Beavers football team and was a star player on the baseball team, racking up home runs and game-tying hits.

The Iowa City Police Department and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Second-degree murder is a Class B felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison upon


Anyone with information relating to Fry, McEwen and the investigation is asked to contact Iowa City Investigator Scott Gaarde or Lt. Jim Steffen at (319) 356-5275.