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Becker's Mother Takes the Stand in Murder Trial
By Dave Franzman
ALLISON - In court Wednesday, the mother of a former football player accused of shooting his high school coach has testified that her son suffered from severe bouts of depression and occasionally violent episodes.
Mark Becker is on trial for shooting and killing Aplington Parkersburg football Coach Ed Thomas last June. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Joan Becker told a jury that the family knew Mark Becker was having serious mental issues. They had him evaluated and hospitalized but had no idea his problems would result in a death.
Joan said she saw the first signs of trouble when her son was in high school. She said he became withdrawn and his personality changed. A few years later, he began having conversations with imaginary people.
"We heard Mark yelling, 'get off me get off me'. My husband got up to go downstairs to what was the matter. And we didn't know who that young man was. And he didn't know we were his parents, he called us Dave and Joan," said Joan Becker, Mark Becker's mother. (watch more testimony from Joan Becker below)
Joan Becker says her troubled son drifted between jobs and school but had trouble staying anywhere long.
Some of his episodes as she called them turned violent like what happened when she picked Mark Becker up after an arrest for assault.
"I was driving, I called Dave to let him know Mark was verbal and was concerned. Mark grabbed the phone from me and broke it in half," said Joan.
The Becker's sought medical help and a Mason City psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar disorder among other problems. But Doctor Mark Lessise said he didn't have a medical opinion about Becker's state of mind the day of the shooting.
Jurors also got to see Mark Becker on a video recording made at the Butler County Jail four days before the shooting. On the recording he again says bizarre things like "it's not real, I'm not here right now."
Court has adjourned for the day and will begin again Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
Complete Coverage of the Becker Trial
WATCH: Video of Joan Becker on the stand Wednesday morning
Replay Wednesday's Coverage
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