The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Mark Becker. A jury rejected Becker’s defense that he was legally insane when he shot his former football coach, Ed Thomas, in June 2009.
Becker entered a weight room at Aplington-Parkersburg High School where he shot Thomas six times. Students who witnessed the incident said Becker called Thomas “Satan” and told them to “go get his carcass.”
Doctors testified at the trial that Becker was a paranoid schizophrenic, but they disagreed over whether he knew what he was doing was wrong when he shot Thomas.
Becker’s lawyers argued jurors were given incorrect instructions about the legal definition of insanity. The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed, but noted jurors were later given another instruction that offered the correct definition. The appeals court upheld Becker’s conviction and affirmed a district court’s ruling on the amount of ordered restitution.
See the complete decision here: Becker decision PDF