Charles "Binx" Netherland (courtesy Facebook tribute page)

Charles “Binx” Netherland (courtesy Facebook tribute page)

Charles William “Binx” Netherland


Charles William “Binx” Netherland
25 YOA
801 Mulberry Ave.
Muscatine, IA
Muscatine County
Case Number: 2012-00096764
August 18, 2012


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Charles William “Binx” Netherland, 25, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head at 801 Mulberry Ave. in Muscatine, Iowa, on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

Muscatine County in Iowa
Muscatine County in Iowa
Muscatine in Muscatine CountyMuscatine in Muscatine County

According to a Muscatine Journal article published Friday, October 19, 2012, police at the time treated the death as a suicide, though the family believed from the beginning Netherland was murdered.

“I’m not giving up until justice is served,” Netherland’s mother, Penny McDonnell, told the Journal.

In the same article, Lt. Jeff Jirak of the Muscatine Police Department said the death report had not yet been finalized and the incident was still under investigation.

Iowa Cold Cases has reviewed crime scene photos, pre-autopsy photos, and also obtained copies of all police department taped interviews with those [still] at the crime scene the night of Charles’ death, as well as follow-up interviews. Witness statements — at least those provided to Muscatine police that night — were not consistent with crime scene photos and included three conflicting versions of events leading up to Netherland’s death.

The missing puzzle pieces in Netherland’s death started falling into place when other witnesses stepped forward to describe the series of events occurring that night; these particular individuals had witnessed the crime, the clean-up and other evidence tampering, but were asked to leave the Mulberry Avenue home before police arrived because the guests/witnesses were underage.

On October 19, 2012, Netherland’s friend, Steve Booth of Muscatine, organized a peaceful protest outside the Public Safety Building at 312 E. Fifth Street. About 8 a.m., approximately 20 people began marching around the building, carrying signs reading “Justice for Charles” and calling for police to look further into the case.

Booth told the Journal he’d organized the peaceful demonstration because he’d heard several rumors about the crime scene that didn’t make sense.

Channel 4 News Report on Charles Netherland’s Death

“They didn’t put up crime scene tape and they let people walk around the scene hours after it happened,” Booth told Journal reporter Joe Jarosz, adding that he also heard someone say that a person “came down the stairs laughing” after the shooting (entirely hearsay and is not consistent with the subject’s response after learning Charles hadn’t survived the gunshot wound).

Jirak did not respond to allegations made at the demonstration, but said the department had no problems with the protesters being there as long as it remained peaceful.

“We’re continuing to follow though with leads, waiting for the autopsy report and doing our diligence for the case that we do for all our other cases and the evidence and facts will lead us to a conclusion with the case,” Jirak said.

Mother sets up Facebook page for son, reaches out to other victims’ families

Penny McDonnell established a Facebook page — RIP Charles Netherland — the same day she learned of her son’s death.

charles-netherland-and-pennyCourtesy photo Penny McDonnell
Charles Netherland with his mother, Penny McDonnell.

She told the Muscatine Journal she’d contacted several lawyers and wanted the “feds” involved in the investigation because she didn’t believe her son killed himself.

While still waiting for the state medical examiner’s final report, McDonnell said the medical examiner’s contacted her to notify her the death would be ruled a suicide.

“They told me they’re going with suicide because of the police’s investigation,” she said in the Journal’s October 2012 story.

Netherland’s blood alcohol content (BAC), was initially rumored to be as high as .3, but the official autopsy report places the BAC at closer to .2 at the time of the shooting.

Penny McDonnell with children Charles, James Lee Jr., and Amanda

Penny McDonnell in earlier years with sons James Lee Jr. (left, back), Charles, and daughter Amanda

McDonnell has added dozens of photos to her son’s Facebook tribute page, and since his death has regularly monitored updates on cold cases all across Iowa.

Whenever she sees an anniversary post on Iowa Cold Cases’ Facebook page, she’s quick to reach out and offer words of comfort to the victim’s loved ones. She empathizes with their loss, extends her condolences, and keeps her thoughtful comments focused on hope and finding answers.

Occasionally, she’ll mention her own son’s death — her way of connecting with those who share similar grief — but in her comments one will not find attacks against law enforcement or angry outbursts.

Somehow, by soothing others’ wounded hearts, she’s found her own source of solace while still seeking justice in her son’s death.

Charles Netherland’s Facebook tribute page may be found at

NOTE: James Lee Netherland, Jr., 30, of Wisconsin, formerly of Davenport, passed away Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Wisconsin.

Penny Sue McDonnell, 55, passed away Nov. 18, 2021, after a brave fight with cancer and without seeing justice served in Charles’ suspicious death.

About Charles Netherland

Charles William “Binx” Netherland was born January 20, 1987, in Davenport, the son of James Netherland Sr. and Penny (Willet) McDonnell. He loved to fish, hang out with his family and friends and spend time with his daughter, Taylor.

He resided in Wilton, Iowa, and died Saturday, August 18, 2012, in Muscatine.

Funeral services were held Friday, August 24, 2012, at 1 p.m. at the Runge Mortuary in Davenport, with visitation one hour prior to the service.

charles-netherland-gravestoneCourtesy photo Penny McDonnell
Charles “Binx” Netherland is buried at Davenport Memorial Park Cemetery.

Charles was buried at Davenport Memorial Park Cemetery.

Online condolences may be left at

Survivors included his daughter, Taylor, and her mother, Heather Smith, Wilton; son, Kylin Miller, and his mother, Jerica, Muscatine; mother, Penny McDonnell, Muscatine; father, James Netherland, Sr., Washington, Iowa; brother, James Lee Netherland, Jr., Ankeny, Iowa; sister, Amanda Netherland, Wilton; and paternal grandmother, Loretta Netherland, Washington, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by a brother Brad in infancy.

Remembering Charles Netherland

Slideshow compiled by Jody Ewing

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Charles Netherland’s death is asked to contact the Muscatine Police Department at (563) 263-9922 or contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email


53 Responses to Charles Netherland

  1. Helen Trader says:

    Please check into why they wanted me to sign some paper. It was all a very weird thing for me and I was really surprised that there was no tape no nothing and they let everyone in the house leave, no tape. I think they decided what was what and it was wrong.

    • Penny says:

      I will never give up for justice for Charles William Netherland my son. But, I also need my family right now too. I’m getting ill, I’m not sure if this is the right place to say anything. But, I started getting I’ll after my boys, James Lee Netherland jr. in the car accident, than Charles William Netherland murdered August 18,2012, same year. Than James Lee Netherland jr with the Brain injury he fought for 4 years Than he passed away. I was their for him and fighting JUSTICE for Charles where only 2 people wanted to help when I had and have every thing. Not Even hear say. I’m not sure if this makes sense to any of you. I’m just saying that I need my family to help. I dont really want to put the health issues out there.

  2. Helen Trader says:

    I am Charles Aunt I woke up to pounding on my door letting me know I needed to get to the hospital because something happened to him. Then when I was getting ready to leave I received a call from my ex son in law asking me to stop by his house. I did and there was no police tape and Hank came up to me and said I am sorry I had no idea what he was talking about then I was asked to go to a police truck that my ex son in law and a police officer was in and they wanted me to sign a paper that I knew nothing about I did not because I wanted to get to the hospital and also had no clue why they wanted me to sign some paper and my ex son in law said he needed to contact a lawyer. I do know my grand babies where in this house and do not understand why things were done the way they were. I do hope my sister and the rest of our family will get the truth.

  3. Melissa says:

    He was a awesome young man RIP Charles you are missed truly sorry for your loss penny 😔

  4. mbstans says:

    Prayers to you Penny and your family and friends in your search for justice for your son.

  5. Beckywaltman says:

    Charles was my nephew he was a very great father to his kids everybody loved him we all miss him his laughter his loving us we just want the people that know what happened to my nephew to come forward and say what they saw and help catch the person that did this to my nephew it’s been too long and we want Justice for him and we want it now there’s other family members on here that I feel sorry for and I hope they all find Justice for them to nobody in this world should have to go through what all these families are having to go through somebody needs to come forward and tell the truth and be honest because I know there’s somebody out there and I know this is eating them up so they should just come forward I will miss seeing him grow up I will miss seeing him get married I will miss everything about his life I love you Charles forever and always

  6. Wanda Velasquez says:

    We need to get the justice this family deserves God bless and R.I.P to Charles William Binx Netherland

    • Bryan says:

      Did jail time in Scott county with Netherlands,he seemed like a good kid.

      • Chris Sheiker says:

        HA! That’s a funny comment. Reading through all these comments, one would think Charles was a saint and never did anything wrong and then at the end, there’s this comment. This is drug related, no doubt.

  7. Penny Sue McDonnell says:

    Charles William binxs Netherland, I will never give up justice for you. I think about you every day. Some people try to stop me but me as your mother will never back down, I will keep fighting for you. I love and miss you to the moon and back!

  8. Katie says:

    Charles was a loving and kind person. He didn’t deserve what happened and his family needs justice. Charles is my daughters uncle. He would watch her when I had to work or when I went to school. When those two were together it was like magic. The way they would look at each other was like nothing could keep them apart. When he was with her he was always happy and joyful and at life. When Charles was around us he never seemed to be down or anything. Charles would never kill himself. He would t leave his mom like that.
    When you have a person tell another person that they remember stuff from that night and that there is more to the story. Plus another person telling someone that when a certain person wants to tell the whole story then they will. This family needs their justice and they need it now. Charles was a loving caring uncle and they way those two were together and they way they looked and seemed he would never do that.

  9. Rebecca Hollenbeck says:

    Justice will b served one way or another. I was one of the people protesting every day I could cause I know Charles would never have killed himself. I just want to say, to the person who took my best friend away & a son away from his mother u r being watched & ur day is coming God sees everything & don’t think u got away w anything. One day u will have to face Charles admit what u did b judged by God & have ur sentence handed down. May God show u the same mercy on u as u gave Charles.

  10. Leanna Broughton says:

    I am so glad to see that they are calling it homicide. I knew Charles practically all his life. He was a son to me. I do not believe that he would ever take his own life. I just pray that his parents get justice for their son and mine. I loved you. I will always love and miss you. My boys love you and miss you everyday. You should of had a much longer life to watch your children grow and make more memories with you in them. I miss you and hope I didn’t let you down in life and I hope I’m not letting you down now. Your mother is doing an amazing job searching for the truth and justice for you and the family. I know you are proud of her and so am I. Love and prayers to you Penny

  11. Penny s. McDonnell says:

    I am so glad to see that the Iowa Cold Case organization is calling this homicide instead of suicide like the Muscatine police department and the Muscatine County attorney automatically dead within hours of my son being murdered. The Muscatine Police called it suicide before they ever left the police department because they did not like my son! Thank you Iowa Cold Case for calling this what it truly is, a homicide!

  12. Megan E Ketcham says:

    It is my opinion that with my knowledge of this case and my personal love and affection for Charles, that this was murder. I feel that the people that were in the house that night had ulterior motives for what corresponded that night. Talks of bribes for that perfect moment have been circulating and although it is only hearsay, I know myself that the primary renter at this property received a large sum of money only a week before this happened. Magically that night unlike any other night the gun case was accessible to any one in the house where on any other night it was locked with the key hidden. Many people in that house are afraid to come forth but those of us that loved Charles know the truth. Many things don’t add up. Charles was right handed but was shot on the left side of his head, they waited to call 911, who does that for their friend/cousin, just none of it makes any sense. WAITED to call 911 that right there raises suspicion if you didn’t have anything to hide WHY would you wait. Just none of this except the proof we have makes sense. I loved Charles as did many other people and all my heart wants is JUSTICE.

    • Penny s. McDonnell says:

      They waited 35 minutes after Charles was shot to call 911.

      • Wanda Velasquez says:

        That’s just crazy it was so that they could fix the place to look like a suicide

        • Jody Ewing says:

          Any blood spatter analyst who took time to review all the photos would emerge with two simple questions (actually, more than two, but these two are a given): “This was ruled a suicide?” and “You’re joking, right?”

  13. Tracy Schwab says:

    I hope u found out what actually happened your sorry for your loss.they do need too investigate more.

  14. Wanda Velasquez says:

    I too think Charles was murdered please help Penny and her family get justice for Charles and bring the people responsible for his death be brought to justice so Penny and the family and friends can find some confort in this difficult time and Charles will be able to r.i.p so much love to just be taken away from the family please find the truth and bring the guilty to justice prayers going to Penny and the family much love and God bless you with strength and answers

  15. Vickie says:

    No way Charles did this to himself!! I don’t care what the MPD say, Someone took him from us and Got away with it!! He would have never left his Mother, Kids nor his Family n Friends! RIP BINX !! You will Never be forgotten your memory will live with us forever and 2 the person who did this I hope you suffer in the worst way possible I hope when your day comes your alone n scared and nobody helps you!

  16. Rebecca Hollenbeck says:

    Charles was murdered & the people responsible for his death need to pay for what they have done!!! Not just to Charles but what their actions have done to Charles family & friends!!

  17. I sat down with Penny and Jerry one day and looked and reviewed the paperwork and statements from the police department and the interviews of some of the people who were there at the time of the crime. I’m not a professional at crimes but just reading and looking at the autopsy papers Charles did NOT commit suicide like they are stating. It doesn’t add up and where the entry of the bullet had went in there is no way Charles could of done it himself. All the people in that house that night know the truth and someone needs to speak up and tell the truth. Charles was murdered we all know thats the truth. Charles loved life, he had alot of people who loved and cared for him. He was a wonderful friend, father and son who would give anyone his shirt off his back. Me personally loved Charles with all my heart. Charles and I always said to everyone that we were husband and wife cause we were always there for each other no matter what. (It’s a funny story behind why we called each other that) . That’s just the kind of person Charles was loving, caring, and would help out anyone. It was murder and it was covered up and this needs to be solved, so his Mom Penny can get some relief and Charles can Rest peacefully in Heaven. I Miss You Charles so much. I wish I could give you one more hug and tell you that I love you one more time.

    • I agree with you 100%, Robyn. I’ve also listened to the tapes, read through the files, and things just don’t add up. (Nor does that “single” blood stain on the bed sheet.) There were definitely enough people there that night and hopefully one is courageous enough to come forward and tell officials what really happened. My heart goes out to you and all of Penny’s family. If I learned nothing else about Charles, I learned he was a very happy young man who truly adored and loved his children, you, his life, his mother and his family.

  18. Penny s. McDonnell says:

    I will be the first to tell my thoughts. My boy Charles William Binxs Netherland, always had a big heart. He so loved his dad and me his mother and his sister and his brother Brad he got to meet when Brad was in Iowa city. Than he became a young man that loved his children and family. Family was very important to Charles. He would always make peace between families arguing and much more. And his friends that so loved him. But if he didn’t know you, he would have helped in anyway he could. So for now I will leave this for now and say more later. Although I will say I love you Charles my baby boy. Love, mom

  19. I so miss my boy! Charles Netherland! , Damn all of you at the house party! And have children of your own! This son of mine was taking wrongfully! I have one son left with
    Brian injury. Oh my lord, he so wants to be with his brother Charles. Charles was not suicide! He believed in life! And not only, son and father, and love education his s siblings. So I’m going to be Quite for now and let all of you say your peace.

  20. We at Iowa Cold Cases have also listened to the police interviews and gone over the autopsy report and other documentation. The statements are conflicting at every turn, and some of the interviews seemed to lack some key questions. A suicide appears completely inconsistent given the chain of events that led to his death. This case and everything about it is deeply disturbing.

    • Amen I hope Penny McDonnell will find some peace and justice for Charles . Charles was my sons best friend they grew up together and Charles was very much loved and did not deserve to be murdered he was a son, a brother,and a father. He had friends and family that loved him how dare anyone think they can play God and take someone’s life ?

    • Rebecca Hollenbeck says:

      Amen to that! Charles loved life & would never take his own no matter how hard it got! I love u & miss u every day Charles u will always b my BFF R.I.P. My friend.

  21. We need all this out there please, comments in your opinion, and keep sharing please.

  22. I grew up with him he was like a brother to me I have been with Penny McDonnell n Jerry A. Shreeves from day 1.. I’ve also read n saw everything n I have my own anger problem with how thus was handle n how many years its taken to get Charles justice. But that’s also a different problem for me to handle lol! But I know in my heart n soul this was murder! N I pray everyday for justice in his name because in lots of ways they slander his great name. He’s missed always by so damn many n I pray to god someone or something happens to bring justice for him!!! Love u!!

  23. Kelly Petersen says:

    Amen Jerry

  24. I am Charles mother. Jerry is my fiancee. That is how he was able to go over everything on this case. I also went over everything with Jerry. In my opinion this my son was murdered and he was set up.

  25. I have personally went over hundreds of papers the authorities have written, listened to all the interviews the police took from at least 6 of the people who were in the house at the time Charles was shot, the autopsy report and all the crime scene photos of Charles and the house. It is clear to me this was not a suicide! Conflicting statements from the people in the house, poor police crime scene investigation, coroner report conflicts with bruising on Charles body and on and on. This was in my opinion a set up and covered up murder.

  26. Penny McDonnell says:

    I so need to put it out there. Charles is a good son and father. He also loved his friends. I so miss my son. And those in his murder needs to pay. Charles always had a smile and tried to keep peace with families. He just had that touch. Oh lord, please give me strength, I need it.

  27. Mackenzie Carder says:

    Charles was my cousin

  28. Jerry says:

    I am Penny McDonnell fiance. I knew Charles very well, and spent a good amount of time with him over 4 yrs.

    I have read every Police report, the Autopsy report, seen every Picture taken of this crime, and listened to every Audio Witness reports.

    Without going into great detail, I can say without a doubt the police certainly did not do a crime scene investigation properly. Also the corner report is contradictory to a suicide and the bruising that Charles had on his body was explained off by the corner as normal when a person is taken by an ambulance to a hospital. I can honestly say all so bad the police treated Penny very poorly, lied to her consistently about several items, including having possession of Charles’s personal belongings. Some of which was needed to have Charles buried. The police even went to the extent of allowing some of Charles personal belongings to be given to two of the suspects believed to have been part of his murder.

    It would be very easy to write page after page after page of all of the things that went wrong during this investigation of his murder, and all the people involved that either lied or withheld information.

    Everything has been given to a lawyer that has reassured Penny that justice will be served and these people responsible for the murder of Charles will be brought to justice. my prayer is that it happens soon, and brings Penny and the family some peace with justice being done.

  29. Thank you, Penny McDonnell!

  30. ♡ you Charles! Miss you more then anything!

  31. So sorry for your loss Penny :( I often see your comments to other families dealing with tragedy-you have a big heart and deserve some peace of your own <3 praying for you and your family

  32. Wendy Holman says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Penny

  33. As any mother or parent that loves their kids, I promise I will not quit fighting for the truth of what happened to my son Charles and for justice!

    Thank you Jody Ewing for reposting this. Prayers to you and all the people who are struggling with issues.

    May the Lord help us all in need.

  34. penny copeland says:

    We all miss you Charles and know you were killed by someone that is a low life heartless pig. Hope this will bring the justice you and your family deserve.

  35. Tiffany says:

    I hope the truth really does come up the fam n friends really do deserve there justice n may whoever did this to u I hope they go to prison n rot in hell for all eternity I really do miss ya homez.

  36. Robyn Miller says:

    I Love n Miss You So Much Charles..I pray everyday that the truth would come out so you can rest in paradise and all your family and friends can get justice. This isn’t right just cause the police don’t know how to do their job. You were a very sweet loving man…I so miss my “bar husband”…I miss your laugh, your hugs, I miss your gorgeous face…Justice will be served…

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