Edward Cusic admitted to beating his 68-year-old mother Anita Labkon to death in December of 2012. He was 44 at the time and charged with first-degree murder. A jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder in December of 2015 and he was sentenced to not more than 50 years in prison, with a minimum of 35 years.
Cusic appealed the conviction saying his defense team was surprised when the expert doctor from the prosecution who was supposed to testify about his mental capacity could not be in court and another doctor testified. He says that doctor’s testimony should not have been allowed.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the primary reason for having the doctor testify was to undermine Cusic’s claim he had diminished capacity and prove he had the intent to kill his mother to make the first-degree murder charge hold. The ruling says the second-degree murder verdict shows the doctor’s testimony failed and it did not hurt Cusic’s defense.