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Convicted murderer of Mason City man loses appeal

DES MOINES – A Mason City man convicted of murder has lost another appeal in his case.

On March 26, 1998, Michael Burnett Weatherspoon was charged in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, District Court with the murder of Jerry Wayne Dean, a creme which took place in Mason City. While Weatherspoon and Dean were arguing, Dean picked up a sheathed knife and approached Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon was able to gain control of the knife and stabbed Dean fourteen times, causing Dean’s death.

Weatherspoon presented a defense of justification, or self-defense. At the time of the incident, Dean was fifty-five years old, had disabling diseases, and was intoxicated. Weatherspoon was then twenty-eight years old.

In its opinion on Weatherspoon’s direct appeal, the Iowa Court of Appeals summarized the facts of the case as follows:

Delona Webster was an exotic dancer at The Outer Edge, a dance club in Mason City, Iowa. On the evening of March 3, 1998, she met Jerry Dean, an Outer Edge patron. Dean gave her his address as room 125 in the Willow Run Annex.

After 1:30 a.m. that evening Michael Weatherspoon, Webster’s companion, took Webster and her two children to the Willow Run Annex to rendezvous with Dean. After being invited in by Dean, Dean asked Webster about having sex and offered $200. She refused. Webster told Dean she was going to leave. After considerable negotiations, Dean agreed to a dance. Webster wanted payment before she danced. At that time, Weatherspoon came in the door and asked Webster if something was wrong. Dean and Weatherspoon began to argue about payment for the private dance. Dean picked up a

sheathed knife on a table and approached Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon punched Dean, and a struggle began. Weatherspoon obtained control of the knife and stabbed Dean in the chest. Dean died as a result of the loss of blood due to fourteen separate stab wounds.

As Dean laid bleeding to death, Weatherspoon took Dean’s billfold. Weatherspoon, Webster, and the kids left the area. On the way back to their motel Weatherspoon made a derogatory comment and threw Dean’s billfold out of the window of the vehicle.

Webster disposed of Weatherspoon’s bloody clothes in a dumpster. On March 4, 1998, Weatherspoon paid $900 toward the purchase of a Cadillac automobile, using a false name. He was later arrested.

After a jury trial, Weatherspoon was convicted of First Degree Murder, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He appealed, and his appeal was referred to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court affirmed his conviction, and the Iowa Supreme Court denied his application for further review.

On April 6, 2001, Weatherspoon filed an application for post-conviction relief in Cerro Gordo County District Court. After a bench trial, the application was denied. Weatherspoon appealed, and his appeal again was referred to the Iowa Court of Appeals. On March 31, 2005, the court affirmed the denial of his application, and Weatherspoon did not seek further review by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Weatherspoon appealed the district court decision denying his application for postconviction relief from his conviction for first-degree murder. The Iowa Court of Appeals found the grounds raised in this postconviction application were fully adjudicated in prior proceedings and they may not be the basis for relief in this action. We affirm the decision of the district court denying Weatherspoon’s application for postconviction relief.

Weatherspoon remains held in the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

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