A Monona County jury has found a Mapleton teenager guilty of second degree murder for shooting another teen to death early last year. The jury’s deliberations lasted less than three hours to decide the case against 18-year-old Jay Neubaum in the death of 16-year-old Joseph Hopkins in Mapleton.
Neubaum’s defense argued the shooting was an accident and the gun wasn’t pointed at the victim. Prosecutor Marty Platz, an assistant state attorney general, told the jury the gun didn’t fire itself.
“As the gun science expert testified…the only way this weapon fired at anybody is that the trigger was pulled and the only way it hit the victim was it was aimed dead center,” Platz said. “…At the range that he was at, he could not miss.”
Prosecutors rested their case Thursday morning and then the defense called the defendant’s father as their only witness. The jury’s verdict was delivered at about 6 p.m. Neubaum will face up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 29.
He is awaiting trial in a separate case. Neubaum is charged with sexually assaulting seven teenage girls from the Mapleton area and that trial is scheduled for December.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)