The Iowa Court of Appeals says a Taylor County man convicted of kidnapping and sexual abuse can have his request for a new trial reviewed. Eric Houk was found guilty by a jury of first-degree kidnapping, and three counts of third-degree sexual abuse, after kidnapping an 18-year-old girl from the parking lot of the store where she worked and raping her several times.
He was also convicted of arson for setting the girl’s car on fire. Houk filed a motion for a new trial, but the district court found the jury’s guilty verdicts were supported by substantial evidence and denied Houk’s request. The Iowa Supreme Court says Houk should get a review as the district court overruled the motion, citing the evidence was “substantial,” but made no reference to the “weight of the evidence.”
The Supreme Court says the district court must review the request for a new trial based on the “weight of the evidence” and if it denies the request again, his life sentence will stand.