The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeals decision that overturned the murder conviction of an eastern Iowa man. Dennis Richards was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree arson for strangling his ex-wife Cyd Richards to death, and then setting her home in Burlington on fire in January of 2009.
There had been a variety of evidence introduced at the trial, such as gas cans and D.N.A. from blood found on Dennis Richards’ clothing, but the testimony of one person that was not allowed in the trial that led to an appeal.
Richards had sought to have a physical therapist testify in his defense that he was not physically capable of strangling his ex-wife. But the witness was added one day past a deadline and not allowed by the district court. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the therapist should have been allowed to testify and reversed the convictions and ordered a new trial for Richards.
The Iowa Supreme Court then reviewed the case and has vacated the appeals court decision. The Supreme Court ruling says even if the district court made an error in not allowing the physical therapist to testify, that error was harmless in light of the overwhelming evidence that was used to convict Richards.
See the complete ruling here: Supreme Court Richards PDF.