A Waterloo man has lost his bid to have his first-degree murder conviction tossed out. Jerry Newell was convicted of killing Kathy Gillen, his live-in girlfriend, on June 15th, 2001.
Newell told authorities he “freaked” that night when he saw his girlfriend lying on the floor in their kitchen, and rather than calling 9-1-1, he left the house with the couple’s two-month-old baby — tracking down his mother who went to the couple’s home, tried to revive Gillen, and then called 9-1-1. An autopsy showed Gillen had been strangled and beaten.
During the trial, several witnesses told of the stories Newell had told them about what happened that night — the stories didn’t match. Several of Gillen’s relatives and her estranged husband testified Newell had battered Gillen and she was afraid Newell would kill her. The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that even if some of that testimony shouldn’t have been admitted, the evidence supporting the murder conviction is “overwhelming.”