Mark Becker to be Evaluated, Placed into Prison System

By Trish Mehaffey

CORALVILLE - Mark Becker, sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an Iowa football coach, was transferred last week to the Iowa Medical Classification Center where he will be evaluated for placement into the prison system.

He will remain at the Oakdale center for 30 to 40 days to complete the intake process.

Becker was convicted in March of shooting and killing Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas June 24. He was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole.

Greg Ort, deputy warden at the Oakdale center, said on Monday he couldn't say where Becker will land up in the prison system because that determination is based on several things. The evaluation of each offender includes a complete medical screening, mental health assessment, substance abuse evaluation, criminal history information and assessment of educational level.

Ort said even if Becker is evaluated with a mental illness it depends on his level of care and needed treatment on whether he would stay at the Oakdale special needs units or go to another prison. The special needs units, two 24-bed unit, are for those who are mentally unstable or can't function normally.

Becker has been diagnosed with schizophrenia by more than one psychiatrist before his trial. His mother Joan Becker has told the media he is taking four medications to treat his illness. He pleaded insanity as his defense but the jury rejected his claim.

Mentally ill patients who can function on their medication can be in the general population, Ort said.
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