Mark Becker Trial to Continue Next Week

By Trish Mehaffey and Dave Franzman

Mark Becker walks back into the courtroom after a short break in the morning. m0218Becker - Butler County Courthouse, Allison, Iowa. Thursday, Feb. 18th, 2010. Trial for Mark Becker who is accused of the June 24th, 2009, murder of Coach Ed Thomas in Parkersburg. (Andrea Melendez/The Register)

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By Aaron Hepker

ALLISON - The defense continues its case in the Mark Becker murder trial in Butler County District Court. Becker, 24, is accused of shooting and killing Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas on June 24 in the temporary high school weight room. Some Aplington-Parkersburg students standing in the parking lot after Ed Thomas was shot last summer testified they saw Mark Becker come out of the building, yelling. The three teenaged girls who testified about Becker's comments were visibly upset on the stand and one girl left the courtroom sobbing after she was excused. Sarah Dunegan, 17, a senior at Aplington-Parkersburg High School, said she usually lifts weights about 7 or 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the bus barn, the location of the temporary weight room, just after the shooting June 24. "I heard gunshots, but didn't know it at the time. I heard cracking noises," said Dunegan, tearing up. She said she saw all the volleyball players run outside and then she saw a man running from the back of the building. He had brown, kind of dirty hair and was wearing a jumpsuit. Ashley Farley, 17, who was with Dunegan in the parking lot, said she also heard what sounded like firecrackers and the man, who was identified as Becker, running out of the building as he was putting something in his pocket. Farley said that she heard Becker yell, "Thomas isn't God. He's Satan. Go get his carcass," as he left the weight room. Farley started crying at this point and said she didn't understand what else Becker was saying as he got into his car. Farley said she has known Thomas all her life and he has always helped her with weightlifting and was encouraging to her as an athlete. The trial will continue Friday afternoon and go into next week. Becker is claiming insanity as his defense. Expert medical witnesses are expected to testify Monday about his mental condition. The prosecution rested Tuesday after three days of testimony included several students who witnessed Becker shoot Thomas and an audio taped police interview of Becker admitting to the shooting was played for the jury.\ Replay coverage:

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