MASON CITY | Larry Whaley was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Cerro Gordo County jury Thursday afternoon.
The jury deliberated for two and a half hours before reaching its verdict. Whaley had been charged with second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Samantha Teeter.
Whaley sat silently in his seat, and showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Family members and friends of Teeter, who had packed about half of the courtroom the entire trial, embraced each other in the hallway outside the courtroom following the verdict.
Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen said he was pleased with the verdict, and added he was happy with how the evidence came into court.
"Law enforcement did a very good job of putting this together and the trial went well," he said. "So I'm happy for the family and I'm happy for everyone involved ... there's some conclusion to this murder and I think the family can move on the best that they can after this terrible incident."
Both Jill Eimermann and Mike Adams, state public defenders representing Whaley, declined comment after the verdict.
The trial, which spanned four days, focused on the issue of whether Whaley was justified to shoot through his apartment door on Dec. 2, 2016. Dalen and Iowa Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand argued that he was not justified, and acted with malice and forethought when he fired his .44-caliber revolver through that door.
Hammerand said in his closing argument that Whaley was reckless when he shot through the door. He demonstrated to the jury how the shooting transpired by pointing Whaley’s firearm toward the front door to his apartment —which rested against the backdoor of the courtroom.
“The defendant took that gun, and then went, 'pow', and fired through the door,” Hammerand said, similar to the language and action Dalen used in his opening argument.
Eimermann and Adams argued that Whaley feared for his life, and thought Corey Mays — a man who police testified was known to possibly carry a gun — was behind his door. They added that Whaley had felt threatened by Mays the entire week leading up to the shooting.
“If Mr. Whaley had any clue that Samantha was on the other side of that door, he wouldn’t have shot,” Adams said in his closing argument.
“Did Larry have perfect judgement? No,” he added. “But the law does not say he has to have perfect judgement.”
Sentencing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6. A second-degree murder conviction in Iowa carries a term of up to 50 years in prison.
The mother of an Osage woman is asking the Christmas Cheer Fund to help her daughter this holiday season.
The woman’s daughter, 39, had to move to Osage for a job and is having trouble making ends meet.
“She barely makes enough to pay her expenses,” the mother wrote in the application. “This would help.”
If awarded Cheer Fund assistance, the woman said her daughter, as in the past, would use it to buy food.
Since the Cheer Fund began in 1927, more than $3 million has been raised.
This year’s goal is $125,000.
The Christmas Cheer Fund was established by Globe Gazette Publisher Lee Loomis so every child could have a present on Christmas morning. In the years since it has come to mean a little help at Christmastime to people of all ages.
Donations may be dropped off or mailed to the Globe Gazette office, 300 N. Washington Ave., Mason City, IA 50402-0271.
Any remaining funds not distributed for the holidays will be given to local nonprofits. The Christmas Cheer Fund balance will return to $100 in January to maintain the checking account.
Cheer Fund donations: Thursday, Dec. 21
THURSDAY’S TOTAL: $4,451.44
TO-DATE TOTAL: $91,997.53
TO REACH GOAL: $33,002.47
Ralph W. Johnson, in memory of his wife Mary Johnson, $20
Debra and Mark Christiansen, $50
Karl and Norma Zimmerman, $50
John and Mae Camper, $20
Employees of Principal, $554.51
Sandra Solsaa, in loving memory of husband Bert and parents John and Hulda Ringis, $50
Tony and Mickey Allison, in memory of our parents Norman and Harriet Allison and Frank and Dorothy Moorehead, $100
Merry Christmas from St. Ansgar, $50
Floyd and Marian Petersburg, in memory of loved ones, $50
Mark and Nancy Barkema, $100
Carlene Davis, in memory of loved ones, $50
Scott and Jenee Sprau, $50
Anonymous, in memory of our parents. Merry Christmas, $20
Mary Anne Muehlstedt, $50
James and Cheryl Nesbit, $25
Allie, Matt and Eric, $50
Elaine Olson and family, in memory of Oscar "Jim" Olson and William B. Wreghitt, $50
Joseph and Patricia McLaughlin, $100
Tom and Sue Nystrom, in loving memory of family gone before us, $100
In loving memory of Jack Meier, $100
In memory of Tom and Claudia Rye, $20
In memory of Curtis Rye, $20
In memory of Enoch and Odella Norem, $20
In memory of Ray and Ruth Pederson, $20
In memory of Danny Eatman, $20
Clausen Plumbing and Heating, $50
Julie Brunsvold, in memory of Mayland and Marguerite Brunsvold, $50
Somber Ladies Aid, $200
John and Lisa Chisholm, in memory of our loved ones, $30
Larry and Nancy Gallagher, in memory of friends and relatives who have departed before us and to honor my fifth-grade teacher Marilyn Strike, $100
Dot Cagle and family, in loving memory of Wes Cagle, $100
Cathi Luett, $100
Janis Lester, $25
Chuck and Janet Bonzer, in memory of Jerry Hartwell, $20
Ronald and Lynda McMannes, in memory of all of the Gettman loved ones, $25
Lynda McMannes, in memory of Jimmy and Doug, $20
Anonymous, in memory of loved ones, $100
Anonymous, in memory of loved ones, $25
Lincoln Intermediate students and staff donations from penny wars and staff auctions, $1,616.93
Emmanuel North American Lutheran Church Women, $100
Nick and Mary Aguilera, in memory of our son Nic, granddaughter Crystal and great grandson Frankie, $25
The family of Jan Huey, $125