The Iowa Court of Appeals today upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a Cedar Rapids man who killed a former western Iowa resident. In November 2007, an eastern Iowa jury found Christopher Schmidt guilty in connection with the December 2006 bar-stool beating death of 24-year old Robert Nelson, of Atlantic.

Nelson graduated from the Atlantic High School in 2000. He’d moved to Cedar Rapids just two months prior to his death, in order to be closer to his sisters. Schmidt was sentenced to life in prison for the crime.

In his appeal, he argued that the district court erred when it failed to deliver his proposed jury instruction on lack of motive, and that the lower court abused its discretion over-ruling his motion for a mistrial.

In today’s ruling, the appeals court disagreed on both issues, and upheld Schmidt’s conviction. In a taped confession barred from his trial, Schmidt told investigators he hit Nelson with two bar stools during an argument over money.