Iowa Murderer Granted Name Change for The Most Bizarre Reason
This is one bizarre story.
The convicted killer formerly known as Drew Blahnik was recently sentenced to 57 years in prison for killing Christopher Bagley, and his murder conviction will remain under that name.
Here's the weird part. I said "formerly known" because Blahnik has what he referred to in front of a judge as "acting aspirations" and will be moving forward under a different moniker. Blahnik will go by the name "Johnny Blahnik Church" after 6th Judicial District court judge Christopher Bruns granted the request last Friday.
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Blahnik filed the petition earlier this year, stating he "wanted to change his name to further his aspirations of becoming an actor." Before trial, he had already been taking classes to "hone his craft" and in the petition stated "upon being released, I plan to jump right back into my pursuit of happiness with a career of acting and voiceovers". That release is, again, 57 years away, although he will be eligible for parole in 35 years. That will make Blahnik, or Church, still the ripe young age of 69. Make that 91 if he serves the full term.
Drew Blahnik also said he wanted to remove the name "Drew" because of a link to another "Drew" in the case that was causing him “severe post-traumatic stress to the point of hearing my first name acts as a trigger to the past and these events that have occurred which I plan to leave in the past and move forward".
Drew Wagner was also convicted in the murder case. Wagner testified that Bagley had pulled drug and money robberies on drug dealer Andrew Shaw, who later was convicted in federal court for being a large-scale marijuana trafficker in Cedar Rapids.
While the drama between the two Drews certainly has the feel of a blockbuster or an amazing episode of "Criminal Minds", I have a feeling the only "acting roles" Johnny Church will appear in will be the stock footage from true-crime documentaries based on this bizarre case.