A trial date has been set for the man accused of murdering a longtime northeast Iowa football coach this past June. Witnesses say Mark Becker walked into the football team’s weight training room early in the morning and shot Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas to death.
Becker, who was 24 at the time of the shooting, had played as an offensive lineman for Thomas. Thomas, who was 58, was a legendary coach. Four former A-P team members were playing as linemen on NFL teams at the time of the shooting.
A district court judge has ruled that Becker’s trial on a first degree murder charge should “commence on February 8, 2010 in…the Butler County Courthouse (in) Allison.” The judge’s decree suggests “the place of jury selection may later be modified.”
Becker has entered a “not guilty” plea to the murder charge.
Court records indicate Becker has been arrested for drunken driving, assault and possession of drug paraphernalia and, in January, Becker admitted to police that he was a methamphetamine user.
The weekend before the shooting, Becker led police on a high-speed chase that wound through three counties. Police in Cedar Falls, where Becker threatened someone with a baseball bat, believed Becker would undergo a psychiatric evaluation at a Waterloo hospital and they would be notified if he were released. Becker left the hospital on Tuesday and shot coach Thomas on Wednesday, June 24th.