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Arson, murder convictions stand for Iowa man


This news story was published on January 14, 2012.
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John Mangalonzo, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

The Iowa Supreme Court has overturned an appeals court ruling that threw out the murder and arson conviction of Dennis Duane Richards in his ex-wife’s death.

In 2009, a Des Moines County jury convicted Richards of strangling his estranged wife, Cyd Richards, and setting her home on fire earlier that year.

He was sentenced to 60 years for second-degree murder and second-degree arson.

Richards, now 62, appealed, and the Iowa Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, finding District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown abused her discretion in excluding a late defense witness.

The court of appeals July 27 reversed Richards’ second-degree murder and second-degree arson convictions, remanding the case back for a new trial.

The supreme court overturned that decision today, determining Brown did not prejudice Richards.

The attorney general’s office, per the request of the Des Moines County Attorney’s Office, sought the Supreme Court review.

For more on the story, see The Hawk Eye Saturday edition.

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