The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Cambridge man who was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife. A jury found Jeremy Cory guilty shooting his wife Vallerie to death in their home in 2014.
The evidence showed Cory remained at home with his wife’s decomposing body for at least four days and lied about her whereabouts when a friend and then a police officer checked on her welfare.
Cory appealed verdict, claiming the district court hurt his defense by not allowing him to present evidence of his alcoholism and by limiting questions to potential jurors about alcohol abuse. He also claimed evidence of a burglary at his house two weeks after his arrest should have been allowed.
The Appeals Court ruled that prosecutors presented overwhelming evidence that Cory had an explosive temper and an unstable marriage and used his own rifle to shoot his wife eighteen times. The Appeals Court says the district court abused its discretion in excluding the evidence of Cory’s alcoholism, as evidence of his history of alcohol abuse would have provided a larger context for his unusual decision to remain in the home and drink beer for several days after he allegedly found his wife dead. But, the court ruled the exclusion of the evidence was harmless as the jury would have still found the him guilty.
The court ruled the evidence of the break in at the home should have been included, but also found the exclusion of that evidence was not enough to reverse the jury verdict. The Appeals Court did not rule on Cory’s claim that his attorney was ineffective for not trying to suppress statements he made to police. The court says the record needs to be more fully developed on the issue and left it open for Cory to make another appeal on the claim.
Here’s the full ruling: Cory ruling PDF