A Storm Lake jury handed down a guilty verdict Friday afternoon in a murder and arson trial. Sessions Harper was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at her home in Fort Dodge last year, then leaving her tied up in the burning home. Firefighters who found Holly Michael rescued her, but she died later from the burns she suffered.
Michael told doctors who treated her at the hospital that Harper was her assailant, and prosecutors presented in evidence a condom found in her home that had the victim’s DNA on one side and the suspect’s on the other. The jury found Harper guilty of all counts of rape, arson and murder. The trial was moved from Fort Dodge to Buena Vista County because of publicity about the case.