A tug-of-war has erupted over the organs of a man who was shot to death in northwest Iowa this week. Fifty-year-old Levi Hofer was an organ donor and since he died in South Dakota, Minnehaha County, South Dakota, Coroner Brad Randall went public with his feelings about how the body should be used. He says Hofer was thoroughly examined when he came in, and there was no evidence of any injury below the head, so the organs should be donated.

Lyon County Attorney Carl Peterson asked for Randall’s statutory authority to be dissolved to prevent the organ donation. Judge Pat Riepel agreed and granted the order. Peterson says he did not want to prevent organ donation, but says that for an autopsy, the body has to be in pristine condition.

According to an organ donation expert from LifeSource, hearts, lungs, and kidneys are not viable after an autopsy.Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGowen’s office says they have jurisdiction over the case, but they turned that over to Lyon County authorities since the crime happened there.

The woman who has admitted to killing Hofer is now charged with second-degree murder. Fifty-two-year-old Laura Lowe shot Hofer, her live-in boyfriend, on Sunday night. He died Wednesday at a Sioux Falls Hospital. A man who lived in their basement, 60-year-old Larry Griffin, is charged as an accessory after the fact. Lowe is being held on a $150,000 bond. Griffin is being held on a $3,000 bond.

By Scott Van Aartsen, KIWA, Sheldon