Lawyer won’t be sanctioned in farmer slaying case
March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court says an attorney won’t be sanctioned for helping a wealthy farmer shield his assets from the estate of another farmer he killed. The court declined to reprimand Indianola attorney Mason Ouderkirk, ruling Friday he didn’t violate ethical rules while representing Rodney Heemstra.
Heemstra fatally shot his neighbor, Tommy Lyon, in 2003 during a dispute over farmland and then hid his body. He was convicted of first-degree murder but later granted a second trial, where he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. After Heemstra was charged, Ouderkirk assisted his family in transferring ownership of millions of dollars of farmland into trusts.
A judge later ruled that those transactions were fraudulent and designed to shield assets from Lyon’s estate, which had been awarded millions in a wrongful-death lawsuit.