Man sentenced for 2014 robbery, murder of Marion man

The final person charged in the 2014 death of a Marion man received a life sentence in federal court.
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A federal judge sentenced 49-year-old Matthew Barrett Robbins to life in prison on Friday.

Robbins was convicted of killing 51-year-old James Booher at a farmhouse in Ely during a drug robbery in 2014. In May, a jury convicted Robbins of several charges including using a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in a death that constitutes murder.

Evidence at the trial showed Robbins wasn’t happy with the quality of meth that he was getting from Booher, so he lured him to the farmhouse to rob him of meth and about $150 before shooting and killing him.

Court documents show he concealed the body by lighting it on fire in a burn pit in his back yard that investigators searched months later. They say he threw the ashes into the Cedar River.

Booher’s mother expressed forgiveness for Robbins during the victim impact statement. The family said the seven years since Booher has been gone has torn them apart. They hope the sentencing on Friday can start the healing process.

“It is some very good news,” Ashley Stribling, Booher’s niece, said. “I feel like our whole family is relieved. They can go on about their days now and definitely have some peace within themselves.”

Robbins is the third person to be sentenced for the death of Booher. William Leo Yancey received 30 years in prison, while Danielle Busch is serving a 10-year sentence.

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