Ed Thomas' family reacts to dismissal of Mark Becker's appeal - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ed Thomas' family reacts to dismissal of Mark Becker's appeal


Family members of slain Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas say they feel a sense of closure after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled convicted killer Mark Becker should not receive a new trial.

More than two years ago, a jury found Becker guilty of killing Thomas in the A-P weight room on June 24th, 2009.

One day after the trial ended, jury foreman Doug Schueler told KWWL he believed they made 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," he said.

Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed, dismissing Becker's appeal for a new trial.

"In terms of big picture, this was a big hurdle for us to get through," said Aaron Thomas, Coach Thomas' son.

Aaron said the decision came as a relief for the family. It also came on a special day.

We met Aaron at Allen Hospital, where the family was celebrating the birth of Avery Thomas, who would have been the coach's first granddaughter.

"Todd having the first granddaughter, we know what my dad would have thought of that, it would definitely have been his little girl. So that part's tough," said Aaron. "But in the same token, we have a lot of great memories. We're very fortunate to have all the footage that we have and go back and see and hear my dad's voice. And I know a lot of people, when they lose loved ones, they don't have that."

When Aaron learned a decision would come this week, memories of the trial weighed heavy on his mind.

"It seems like it was so long ago, yet it is always something that is on your mind. There's the hope not to have to go through another trial," he said.

Knowing they can put this in the past, and move on, is a relief. But the family, and the community, will always carry Coach Thomas' legacy with them.

"He had meaningful relationships. He truly cared about other people and he invested in other people. And I think, when you do that, the imprint you make in their lives... I think my dad was very fortunate. I know he'd be shocked to know how many people he influenced," said Aaron.

Friday's Iowa Supreme Court decision came with a dissenting opinion from one justice. Justice Hecht said he believes the jury should have been instructed about the consequences of a "not guilty by reason of insanity" verdict. He believes, at least some of, the jurors did not want to risk the possibility that Becker would be released without proper psychiatric care. Becker is currently serving a life sentence.

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