Jury foreman reflects on "guilty" verdict - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jury foreman reflects on "guilty" verdict


BUTLER COUNTY (KWWL) -- The jury took twenty-five hours, spread out over five days, to find Mark Becker guilty of murdering Ed Thomas. One day after the decision, foreman Doug Schueler took the day off today to rest, and try to return to life as normal. It's not a position he asked for, but Schueler believes he was put on the jury for a reason.

Schueler is a pretty typical guy, living on a farm just north of Allison. Until a few weeks ago, he never imagined facing such an extraordinary decision.

"You really can't get in someone's head. The only people who actually knew what was inside Mark Becker's head was Mark Becker and God," he commented.

During the first day of deliberation, jury members went through the evidence, and seemed to be on the same page.

"We decided to go around the table and just view our thoughts," he recalled.

Within the initial hours, they concluded Becker was guilty of murdering Ed Thomas. But it took four more days to agree whether or not he was sane when it happened.

"Everybody had their opinion. We just couldn't get off dead center," said Schueler.

Schueler said he questioned whether they'd reach a unanimous verdict when they went home without a vote on Monday. He was relieved when it took just a few minutes to come up with a guilty verdict Tuesday morning.

One of the key points of evidence was Becker's interview the day of the shooting. The second day of deliberation, the jury watched a piece of that recording in open court. Schueler said they wanted to listen once more to exactly what Becker had said to investigators.

"Animosity was a comment or phrase we had heard. And that's one reason we wanted to come back to that, to make sure we had heard and took the correct notes, and that that was a statement Mr. Becker had made," Schueler explained.

The most troubling part, was their decision would not change what happened or the impact Thomas' murder will have on Parkersburg.

"It's destroyed a couple of families, and it tore a community apart," Schueler noted.

All they could do was emerge from the deliberation room with a just verdict.

"I think we did a good job. But someday I'll find that out I guess when I'm in front of the good lord. But we did the best we could," Schueler added.

Before the judge released the jury, he said they could leave with a clear conscience knowing they made a unanimous decision. He also asked jury members to try to put the trial behind them.

Schueler said that's easier said than done. But if he is ever called for jury duty again, he'll be honored to serve his country by taking on another trial.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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