Iowa Supreme Court hears challenge in fatal football coach shooting case
Des Moines, Iowa: On Thursday March 29th the Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the conviction of Mark Becker in the shooting death of well-known high school football coach Ed Thomas. Mark Becker, who was convicted of fatally shooting Thomas during a weight-lifting session in 2009, is not challenging his conviction on the basis of his innocence, but rather that the judge in his original trial gave incorrect instructions to the jury. Becker's defense hinged on his mental state at the time of the shooting, which his attorneys contend made him incapable of understanding the gravity of his actions. When the judge was instructing the jury on legal meanings during the trial, he defined insanity as “lacking sufficient mental capacity.” However, the Iowa code defines insanity as “diseased or deranged condition of the mind." Becker's attorney's argue that this distinction is very important, and could very well lead to a different outcome for their client.
Iowa Assistant Attorney General Darrel Mullins argued for the court. Mullins argued that the definition of insanity used by the judge was broader than that advocated by Becker's attorneys and thus was to Becker's advantage. The Supreme Court has not yet made their decision in this matter.
|This article was written by Amanda Qualls, the Director of Training for the Lucy Burns Institute. She can be reached at email@example.com.|