Mark Becker Sentenced to Life in Prison, Thomas Family Speaks"> Mark Becker Sentenced to Life in Prison, Thomas Family Speaks">

Mark Becker Sentenced to Life in Prison, Thomas Family Speaks

By Dave Franzman and AP


By Aaron Hepker

ALLISON - Mark Becker has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole. Becker, 24, was convicted last month of shooting and killing former Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas in June 2009. A jury rejected Becker's claim of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ed Thomas' sons Todd and Aaron Thomas were among family members who spoke Wednesday before a judge sentenced Becker.

The sons told Becker they struggle not to hate him and hope he gets psychiatric help. But they made clear their resentment.

Todd Thomas said Becker has hidden behind his mental illness and now faces the consequences of his actions.

Aaron Thomas said Becker doesn't understand the damage he's done, adding "nor do I think you care."

Ellen Thomas, Aaron's wife, told the court that she found it impossible to explain what happened to Ed Thomas’ grandchildren. She said, “how do you explain someone took a gun and shot it?”

Iowa District Court Judge Stephen Carroll made a statement from the bench, saying “there is no satisfactory explanation for how someone who never even had a fist fight in his life ended up dead from a gunshot wound.”

Carroll told Becker that he had brought unresolved chaos into life and that chaos is evil. The judge also made comments about cuts in funding for mental illness, saying “we are engaging in a dangerous trade off by not funding mental illness treatment and the decrease in funding mental health means an increased risk to the public. In hindsight an untreated Mark Becker was a danger to society”.

Judge Carroll on Wednesday rejected the motion for a new trial, in which defense attorney Susan Flander argued the judge improperly refused to issue certain jury instructions she had requested.

Judge Carroll ruled that Flander's requested jury instructions gave an incomplete version of what would happen to Becker if he were convicted.

Complete Coverage of the Becker Trial

Replay reporter Trish Mehaffey's coverage:
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