Becker sentenced to life in prison without parole - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Becker sentenced to life in prison without parole


BUTLER COUNTY (KWWL) -- Mark Becker was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Aplington-Parkersburg football coach and teacher Ed Thomas.

Becker was found guilty of first degree murder in March. Becker shot and killed Thomas in the high school's temporary weight room in 2009.

There were 7 days of testimony and more than 25 hours of deliberation to reach that verdict. Becker pleaded not guilty to the charge by reason of insanity. The defense argued that Becker believed Thomas was Satan and had delusions the night before the murder.

Becker's attorney has filed a motion for a new trial, saying the jury should have received two additional instructions before beginning deliberations. One of those charges include the understanding that the jury is not responsible for any punishment that Becker would receive.

During jury deliberations, jurors sent a note to Judge Stephen Carroll asking what would happen if Becker was found legally insane. Judge Carroll responded that jurors did not need to concern themselves with the potential consequences of their decision. Carroll added the consequences of the verdict is a matter for the court and not for the jury.

The prosecution filed its own motion this week, arguing that Becker received a fair trial and his conviction is legally sound. Judge Carroll denied the request for a new trial at the sentencing on Wednesday morning.

Members of both the Thomas and Becker families gave emotional victim impact statements before the judge delivered his sentence. Ed Thomas' wife and sons spoke to the courtroom about dealing with the daily consequences of Becker's actions. Ellie Thomas, Ed's daughter-in-law, talked about telling her children about what happened. Aaron Thomas, Ed's son, talked about going to work each day and seeing the spot where his father died.

Mark Becker did not give a statement at the sentencing.

Becker was ordered to pay more than $150,000 in restitution and court fees.

Powered by Frankly