Court Upholds Conviction in Smothering Death

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court has upheld the second-degree murder conviction of an elderly eastern Iowa man who smothered his wife during an argument.

The Iowa Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected James Blum's claim that his attorney should've argued he didn't act with malice when he killed Patricia Blum at their Washington home in 2010.

The court says that argument would've been "meritless" because the evidence showed he held his wife's head to a couch for the purpose of getting her to stop screaming and not as a result of sudden passion.

Blum told police that he held her face down against a cushion until she died and should've let her up but didn't because he was so angry.

Blum is serving a 50-year prison term. He's now 73.
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