A jury in Keokuk County has found a man guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in the death of another man.
Thirty-one-year-old Steven Vogel was charged in the killing of 44-year-old Michael Williams of Grinnell. William’s aunt, Paula Terrell, talked with reporters after Tuesday’s verdict and says she considers his killing a lynching.
“It’s putting that rope around his neck and holding it for over six minutes, causing his death, is the definition of a hanging. A lynching. A white man lynched a black man over a white woman.” Terrell said.
Investigators have said they do not believe the killing was racially motivated. Terrell says she’s thankful for the guilty verdict. But she still believes this was a hate crime.
“The hate crime law here is very weak. And so we will continue to fight for that even after this verdict,” Terrell said. “Because there was a lot of hatred involved. The medical examiner talked about how he was hung.”
Vogel is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13th.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)