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Officials release name of man whose body was found in river

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Omaha authorities have released the name of a man whose body was found floating down the Missouri River. Boaters spotted the body around 2:15 p.m. Sunday. An Omaha Fire Department river rescue team recovered it near Eppley Airfield on the northeast corner of the city. Omaha police said Wednesday that the man’s been identified as 32-year-old Tyler Owen.

Police say no foul play is suspected in Owen’s death, but their investigation is continuing. It’s unclear whether an accident was involved.

IA Court affirms conviction in 2003 Pott. County murder case

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A man who appealed his conviction of first-degree murder in Pottawattamie County has had his appeal for Post Conviction Relief (PCR) denied. The Iowa Court of Appeals heard the request from David Gonzales-Becerra, who was convicted in the fall 2003 beating death in Council Bluffs, of 35-year old Oscar Flores. The incident happened at a party. Becerra, who was 25-year old at the time, was one of three men convicted in the case. He had appealed his conviction to the Iowa Supreme Court, which denied further review. A district court determined Becerra’s claims were time-barred, and denied the application for relief.

In its opinion, the Appeals Court said Post Conviction Relief applications must be filed within three-years of the date of conviction. Becerra initiated his PCR on Dec. 5th, 2013, which fell outside the rules for timely application.

The Appeals Court said the district court was correct in its decision, based on the Statute of Limitations, and affirmed their decision to deny PCR.

Iowa Court denies appeal in Pott. County murder case

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Court of Appeals has denied an appeal for a new trial in a Pottawattamie County murder case. The court heard an appeal from Jodie Marie Sherman with regard to her bench trial conviction on a charge of second-degree murder. She was convicted of the July 2014 stabbing in Council Bluffs, of Douglas Richt. Richt was stabbed in the neck with a 12-inch knife during an argument in a vehicle, he later died from massive blood loss.

Sherman was initially found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness. In October 2014, she was sent to the Medical Classification Center in Oakdale for further evaluation. She was found competent to stand trial despite some reservations by a licensed psychologist. During trial, she used the insanity defense but the court but was found guilty. Sherman filed a motion for a new trial, but was denied and appealed the decision.

The Appeals Court affirmed the verdict, ruling that she did not prove her defense of insanity by a preponderance of the evidence, as required by statute. They said the verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and, that the trial court did not commit error by denying Sherman’s request for a new trial.

Iowa Court of Appeals reverses 1 of 2 convictions in Taylor County murder case

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Court of Appeals has reversed one conviction of a man in a Taylor County case and upheld another conviction in the same case. The ruling was with regard to an appeal from Charles Hall, of Chicago, who, in July 2015, was convicted of murder in the first degree and child endangerment causing serious injury.

Authorities on May 22nd, 2015, responded to a 911 call for a child not breathing at 806 Washington Street in Bedford.  Deputies found a 3-year-old girl, Janiya King, unresponsive. She was pronounced dead by the medical examiner. Court documents indicate Janiya had severe burns on her face and right shoulder. The girl had been staying with Hall’s girlfriend in Bedford. April Clair plead guilty to child endangerment resulting in bodily injury. She was charged because she had not sought medical help for the child when she first noticed the abuse.

In an appeal of his convictions, Hall maintained the district court abused its discretion when it denied his motion for mistrial after one of the State’s witnesses vomited outside of the courtroom following a 911 call that was played for the jury.  He also said there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for child endangerment resulting in serious injury.

After reviewing the record, the Appeals Court said they could not confirm the district court abused its discretion in denying Hall’s motion for mistrial. Therefore, they affirmed his conviction for murder in the first degree. However, the Court found there was insufficient evidence to support Hall’s conviction for child endangerment causing serious injury, and ordered that conviction reversed.

Because the jury necessarily found the State established all the elements of the lesser-included offense of child endangerment causing bodily injury and sufficient evidence supports that conviction, the Appeals Court instructed the district court to enter an amended judgment of conviction and to re-sentence Hall accordingly.

State pays $475,000 to settle out of court on western IA foster care death case

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The State of Iowa is paying nearly half a million dollars to settle the lawsuit filed after a boy in foster care was beaten with a brick and drowned. The birth mother of Dominic Elkins filed the lawsuit. Elkins had been placed with a foster family in Logan (Iowa). Another foster kid in the home who was 17 years old killed the five-year-old when the foster parents were not in the house. That teenager was charged and found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Attorneys for the five-year-old’s mother argued state officials should not have placed the two boys in the same foster care home. Last fall the state agreed to pay 300-thousand dollars from the “Foster Home Insurance Fund.” This week the State Appeal Board approved another 175-thousand dollar payment from the state to settle the case out of court.

On Monday, the legislature’s Oversight Committees held a hearing to examine the state’s child welfare system, including foster care.

(Radio Iowa)

Fatal semi vs. tractor accident in Greene County

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

An accident late Tuesday morning in Greene County has claimed the life of a man who was riding on a tractor. The Iowa State Patrol says 47-year old Patrick Fields, of Paton, died at the scene of the crash when the 1965 International Tractor he was driving was hit from behind by a semi. The tractor was pushed into a ditch by the impact, and rolled on top of Fields, pinning him underneath.

The accident happened at around 11:20-a.m., as Fields was traveling east on Greene County Road E-18. The driver of the 1996 Freightliner semi, 25-year old Troy Shaw, of Harcourt, was not injured. The accident remains under investigation.

The Iowa State Patrol was assisted at the scene by deputies with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Paton Fire and Grand Junction Fire and Rescue.

No injuries reported after an accident in Villisca, Tuesday

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says no injuries were reported following an accident Tuesday afternoon, in Villisca. Authorities sat a 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup owned and driven by David L. Rhamy, of Villisca, was traveling north on U Avenue at around 12:20-p.m., when Rhany pulled to the right of the road to deliver mail.

A 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo, owned and driven by Jessica K. Marshall, was traveling north behind the pickup. Marshall failed to notice the pickup was slowing and pulling to the right. Her car made contact with the left rear of the pickup, causing a total of about $1,400 damage. No citations were issued.

Two injury accidents in Union County

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Two people suffered possible/minor injuries during separate accidents Tuesday, in Union County. Sheriff’s officials say 33-year old Adam Michael Roan, of Afton, was transported by ambulance to the Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston, after the vehicle he was driving entered a ditch and struck a culvert. The accident happened at around 7:40-p.m. as Roan was traveling south on Palomino Drive.

Authorities say he was talking on the phone when he met a car that kicked up dust and impaired visibility. Roan’s 2004 Dodge pickup got too close to the ditch before it entered the west side of the ditch and hit the culvert. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $4,000.

The other accident happened at around 3:35-p.m., Tuesday, in the Bunn-O-Matic parking lot, in Creston. Officials say Christopher Paul Kuhn, of Greenfield, was walking out into the parking after getting off work, when, as he walked around the front a vehicle waiting to pull out of a parking stall, was struck in the left knee, when the vehicle pulled out. The accident caused Kuhn to fall to the ground with a possible knee injury. He was transported to the Creston hospital by ambulance to be checked out.

The driver of the vehicle that struck him, 27-year old William Anthony Graham, of Creston, told authorities he didn’t see Kuhn walking around his 2014 Chevy  Cruz before he pulled out of the parking stall. No citations were issued.

Creston man arrested on warrants

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office reports a Creston man, 30-year old Sean Cody Stauffer, was arrested Tuesday evening in Adams County. He was transferred from the Adams County Jail to the Union County Jail, on Union County Warrants for criminal mischief 5th degree and for failure to appear in court on a sex offender registration violation.  Stauffer was being held in the Union County Jail on $5000.00 bond.

Iowa Board of Regents executive director resigning

News

June 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The executive director of the Iowa Board of Regents has announced his resignation. A regents news release said Wednesday that Bob Donley’s resignation is effective July 15. He’s served in the position since 2008. The board intends to appoint an interim executive director and begin searching for Donley’s replacement.

The board oversees the state’s three public universities and two special K-12 schools: the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.