Man once charged with cold case murder walks free - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Man once charged with cold case murder walks free

Posted: Updated:
(KWWL) -

A man, who is charged in connection to an eastern Iowa cold case murder, will not serve time behind bars. 

58-year-old Anthony Burtch was sentenced to 180 days in jail, however he was given credit for the past time served because he had already spent that time in jail during this process. Therefore, Burtch walked out free after today's sentencing. 

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to Obstructing Prosecution, which dismissed a First Degree Murder charge and a weapons charge against him.

This is all connected to the death of Lance DeWoody. 

DeWoody was shot to death on the University of Iowa's Oakdale Campus in August of 1985. Police say Burtch gave conflicting stories of what happened. 

Today in the courtroom, Anthony Burtch was waiting to hear his fate. He pleaded guilty to Obstruction of Justice for lying to authorities about the 1985 death of Lance DeWoody. 

An agreement dismissed a First Degree Murder charge against him for DeWoody's death. DeWoody's sister noted the family would have killed to see him held accountable, believing Burtch shot her brother. 

"My family and I are saddened that the person that took Lance from us did not pay for his crime behind prison bars, but we have faith and we know in our hearts that the true punishment for Lance's murder is still to come when he has to answer to God," said Carrie Fortin, DeWoody's sister.

Burtch passed up his chance to make a comment.  

"Even if we got a First Degree Murder conviction, the defendant is an older man and he's already been free for those 31 years," said Jude Pannell, Assistant Johnson County Attorney. "We also know that in the intervening 31 years, he's lived a very quiet life." 

Pannell notes that over time, witnesses can die and stories can change. He says ultimately they don't believe Burtch is a threat to the public, and this sentencing finally gave the DeWoody family some closure - something Fortin noted their mother never got, telling the courtroom she died with no closure and a broken heart. 

Powered by Frankly