Becker's Lawyer Wants Trial By Jan. 30th

Mark Becker, right, enters the courtroom for his mental competency hearing and walks past Ellie Thomas, left, and Jan Thomas, right, wife of Ed Thomas, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 in Mason City, Iowa. Becker, 24, is charged with first-degree murder for the June 24 shooting of Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney)

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By Daren Sukhram

ALLISON — Mark Becker, accused of fatally shooting Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas, waived his right to speedy trial last week in Butler County District Court.

Becker, 24, of Parkersburg, was found mentally competent to stand trial last week and an order was filed Thursday waiving his right to be tried within 90 days.

Second Judicial District Judge Stephen Carroll said after reviewing reports by two psychology experts, he believes Becker understands the first-degree murder charge against him, the court proceedings and can effectively assist in his defense.

Although examinations before Thomas’s shooting and since confirm Becker suffers from schizophrenia, including auditory hallucinations, he understands the charges against him “as well as any lay person new to the legal process can,” Carroll wrote.

Carroll also found that Becker’s auditory hallucinations haven’t interfered with his ability to communicate, and an increase in dosage of an antipsychotic medication has improved his condition.

No trial date is set at this time.
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