James Farnsworth was convicted by a Cerro Gordo County jury of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Ian Decker.
An appeal states that Farnsworth’s attorney, David Roth, was embezzling from his firm and taking money from his clients, including Farnsworth, before it was earned. Roth committed suicide in September 2014, with Roth’s former clients and creditors filing millions of dollars of claims. Farnsworth’s appeal accuses Roth of depositing a $75,000 retainer into a bank account hidden from his law partners and misappropriating those funds for his own use.
Farnsworth also says Roth should have never taken the case due to a conflict of interest when his law firm represented the city of Mason City and its police officers in numerous civil proceedings over the years. Mason City police officers were involved in the murder investigation.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)