Becker Still in Evaluation Process at Oakdale

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

Mark Becker says that he had no statement to make at this time during his sentence hearing at the Butler County Courthouse on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, in Allison, Iowa. Becker, convicted of shooting Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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By Aaron Hepker

OAKDALE – Mark Becker, convicted of killing Aplington/Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas in March, is still undergoing the evaluation process at Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale.

Greg Ort, deputy warden, said he won’t be transferred until this process is completed. Inmates usually go through the intake and evaluation process in 30 to 40 days but Becker’s situation is more complicated because of his mental illness. He was sent to Oakdale after his sentencing in April.

Ort said he couldn’t give any details regarding Becker’s mental health and didn’t know how much longer he will remain in the center.

Becker could remain in Oakdale special needs units or could be transferred to another prison, depending on his level of needed care and treatment, Ort said. The special needs units, two 24-bed units, are for those who are mentally unstable or can’t function normally.

Psychiatrists during the trial diagnosed Becker with schizophrenia and his mother Joan Becker has previously told the media he is taking four medications to treat his illness.

Becker pleaded insanity during the trial but the jury rejected his claim.

Becker shot Thomas several times last June 24 while the coach was in the weight room of the temporary high school. About 20 students were in the room and some testified during the three week trial in Butler County District Court.

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