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  1. #16
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    Judge grants venue change in cold case trial

    http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/cri...1c43dd119.html

    “Due to numerous factors, such a degree of prejudice exits in Tama County there is a substantial likelihood a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with a jury selected from Tama County,” Hunter argued in a January court filing.

    Prosecutors agreed, and on Tuesday following a phone hearing, District Court Judge Mitchell Turner ordered the trial be moved to Marengo, in Iowa County.

    The trial is currently scheduled for May 1.

  2. #17
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    Purk murder trial to begin Monday

    http://www.tamatoledonews.com/page/c....html?nav=5006

    Trial for Tait Otis Purk, 50, charged with 1st degree murder, is set to begin Monday, May 1, on a change of venue from Tama County to Iowa County District Court in Marengo. Court records show the trial is expected to take six to eight days.

  3. #18
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    Another article:
    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/sto...day/307514001/

    I don't see how they can successfully convict the accused. A body was never found and there are no witnesses to the murder.

  4. #19
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    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/ne...woman-20170504

    A former co-worker of Tait Purk testified Thursday he didn’t believe it at first when Purk told him he had killed his girlfriend after she threatened to expose him for stealing a Chevy pickup and for robbing a convenience store.

    “It just seemed too far out there,” Chad Rogers, 49, told jurors as testimony entered the second day in Purk’s first-degree murder trial in an Iowa County District courtroom...

    John Carr, who retired from the Tama Police Department in 2012, said he had been at the home three times for “relationship issues” in late 1999 and early 2000. Twice, Okonski was upset but denied anything physical had happened, and the officer gave her a ride to an acquaintance’s house.

  5. #20
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    Tait Purk takes the stand, recounts night fiancee went missing

    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/ne...ssing-20170508

    Tait Purk took the stand Monday, saying more than once he didn’t kill his fiancée Cora Okonski and doesn’t know what happened to her in April 2000.

    Purk said he and Okonski, 23, had relationship problems and he thought Okonski’s drug issues were to blame. Now, he said, he thinks she had mental health issues. Later in testimony, he said their relationship was good — “they just had arguments.”

    “I wasn’t violent,” Purk said. “She got violent.”

    During testimony on Monday, Purk explained the large bruise on Okonski’s back that a dispatcher testified about last week, was from her falling, and the scratch on the top of her arm was from a cat, not the result of domestic abuse as Okonski claimed. In another incident that witnesses testified about last week involving him setting her belongings on fire and her getting burned, Purk admitted to burning the items but said Okonski slipped near the fire and was injured.
    Purk said Monday he and Okonski got into an argument on April 16, 2000, over the discussion of a wedding dress. He wanted to slow things down because he didn’t have the money. Purk said Okonski was upset and went for walk about 10 or 11 a.m.

    Her 2-year-old son, Austin, stayed with him and Okonski didn’t return until 8 or 8:30 p.m., Purk said. She was still upset and eventually went to borrow a writing pad from a neighbor.

    Purk said he could see her in the bedroom when she returned and she was writing a letter. She then asked him for money to buy cigarettes. She then took the money and left.

    Purk watched her go out the back door, around the side of the house to Fifth Street and walk west toward the store. He said it was the last time he saw her.

    Purk denied telling Sean Ward and Chad Rogers, who testified last week, that he killed Okonski. He began tearing up and wiped his eyes with a tissue in refuting their testimony.

    “I dispute (that) story 100 percent,” Purk said. “I didn’t kill her.”

  6. #21
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    Jury finds man guilty in Tama County cold case homicide:
    http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Tam...421872513.html

  7. #22
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    Prosecutors win conviction in rare Iowa 'no body' murder case

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/sto...ski/316262001/

    Prosecutors have won a conviction in a rare Iowa first-degree murder trial where no body has been found, convincing jurors that a former Tama man killed his girlfriend — who vanished without a trace.

    The jury verdict in the case against Tait Otis Purk was announced at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday after more than four hours of deliberation, according to Cedar Rapids Gazette court reporter Trish Mehaffey, who tweeted the news from the courtroom.

    Purk, 50, now faces a mandatory life sentence for the death of Cora Ann Okonski, who was 23 and planning to marry the man before she disappeared. Prosecutors called witnesses who testified that Purk himself claimed he killed Okonski using a choke hold before burying her in a remote location, reportedly because she threatened to tell police about a truck theft and store robbery he was involved in.
    Sentencing is set for July 10th.

  8. #23
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    Purk motion for new trial under advisement

    http://www.tamatoledonews.com/page/c....html?nav=5006

    Arguments for a new trial in the 1st degree murder conviction of Tait Otis Purk were heard by Judge Mitchell E. Turner in Tama County District Court in Toledo Friday morning, July 14.

    .....

    Judge Turner said he would try to rule in the case before the sentencing date later this month and allowed a request by Heeren for the prosecution and defense to submit briefs to him by July 21.

    The sentencing date was pushed back to July 28th.

  9. #24
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    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/ne...ug-11-20170726

    Sentencing for Tait Purk, convicted by an Iowa County jury for killing his fiancee in 2000, has been reset to Aug. 11 in Tama County District Court.

    6th Judicial District Judge Mitchell Turner reset the sentencing, previously set for Friday, court documents show. He hasn’t ruled on the defense’s motion for new trial, which may be reason for the delay.

  10. #25
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    An Iowa man convicted in May of murdering his girlfriend, whose body has never been found, will receive a new trial, a judge ruled Monday.

    Tait Otis Purk, 50, was previously found guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, Cora Ann Okonski of Tama. She was last seen about 17 years ago, when she was 23 years old.

    The court ruling that overturned that verdict on Monday cited lack of evidence presented during the May trial as one reason for granting Purk a new trial.
    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/sto...ase/569322001/


  11. #26
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    New murder trial set for Tait Purk

    http://www.tamatoledonews.com/page/c....html?nav=5006

    In an order filed on Monday, Judge Turner ruled Purk's right to a speedy trial was back into effect and set the trial for Nov. 6 at the Tama County Courthouse.

  12. #27
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    Jurors are “perplexed and confused” over a judge’s decision last month to throw out their guilty verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Tait Purk in Iowa County District Court.

    “I’m dumbfounded, to be honest with you,” Ben Macumber, an Amana school principal who served as jury foreman in the May trial, said this week. “I’m frustrated. ... There’s no words to describe how I feel. But I have no doubt about our verdict.”

    Two other jurors, who were willing to go on the record, echoed Macumber’s sentiments. They said they were shocked and confused by 6th Judicial District Judge Mitchell Turner’s ruling that grants Purk — accused of killing his fiancee Cora Okonski, 23, on April 16, 2000 *— a new trial.
    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/ne...trial-20170902

  13. #28
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    Tait Purk waives jury for new murder trial

    http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/cri...74e9da018.html

    Tait Purk has waived his right to a jury trial, meaning the state’s second attempt to lodge murder charges against him in the case of his missing girlfriend will be heard by a judge.

    The move came earlier this week just as prosecutors appealed a district court judge’s ruling that threw out a first-degree murder verdict in Purk’s first trial.

  14. #29
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    New murder trial for Tait Purk to move forward after appeal is dismissed

    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/ne...issed-20171006

    An appeal filed last month by a Tama County prosecutor, who said a judge “abused his discretion and manipulated the trial record” by overturning a jury’s first-degree murder conviction of Tait Purk, was “voluntarily” dismissed Thursday.

    The appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court wasn’t dismissed by Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren, who filed it, but it was the decision of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which represents the prosecution in appeals.

    The justices will not take up the appeal, according to a document filed Thursday. That officially sends the case back to the district or trial court.

  15. #30
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    Judge recuses self in Tait Purk murder trial

    http://www.tamatoledonews.com/page/c....html?nav=5006

    District Court Judge Mitchell E. Turner has recused himself from the Tait Purk murder trial. His action apparently came during a telephone conference call with prosecutors and defense attorneys on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

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