An Iowa jury found Mark Becker guilty for the first degree murder of Coach Ed Thomas today. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14. Thomas was a longtime football coach at Applington-Parkersburg and was active in re3building Parkersburg, Ia after an F5 Tornado destroyed much of the community. Becker had pleaded not-guilty by reason of insanity. The jury rejected this argument.
Iowa Coach Verdict: Jury finds Mark Becker Guilty of Murder
ALLISON, Iowa (CBS/AP) An Iowa jury took 24 hours, over nearly four days, to find Mark Becker guilty of first degree murder in the June 2009 shooting death of iconic high school football coach Ed Thomas, in Parkersburg, Iowa, about 100 miles north of Des Moines.
An appeals court on Thursday upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a mentally ill man who shot and killed a beloved high school football coach, rejecting arguments that jurors were given improper instructions about his insanity defense.
Now that he's serving life in prison for killing his former football coach, Mark Becker is finally receiving the kind of mental-health care he should have had years earlier, his mother said Tuesday.
"I tell you what, they have been phenomenal in our son's treatment. Phenomenal," Joan Becker said of the staff at the state prison system's mental-health facility at Oakdale.
Becker has become a vocal advocate for improved mental-health care in the five years since her son walked into a Parkersburg high-school weight room and shot Ed Thomas, who was a nationally known coach and a family friend. She spoke Tuesday night at First United Methodist Church in Ankeny about how hard she and her husband tried to find help for Mark, who had shown increasing signs of mental disturbance in his late teens and early 20s.