MASON CITY | A Mason City man accused of murder has penned a steady stream of handwritten letters from his jail cell in recent months.

The latest of the letters sent to District Court Judge Christopher Foy was filed with the court earlier this week. It's one of a dozen sent since March 4.

Among the litany of grievances in the letter, Larry Whaley contends his rights are being violated, his attorneys are lying to him, evidence is being withheld, his cell phone and car were stolen and that there was witness tampering in his case.

It ends with an offer for a plea.

"I am willing to make a plea agreement," Whaley wrote in the letter dated April 13. "Want to leave this county at once wit (sic) time serve (sic)."

Whaley, 60, is accused of shooting 19-year-old Samantha Teeter on Dec. 2 through the door of his apartment at 116 17th St. S.E.

Teeter, who was in the hallway, was hit once in the head and died two days later.

Whaley has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

His attorneys notified the court that Whaley plans to say he acted in defense of himself or others. At his first court appearance days after the crimes, Whaley told the judge, “It wasn’t intentional.”

It's a theme in his letters as well.

"It might not be self defence (sic), but it sure ain't first degree murder," Whaley wrote on April 3.

In a March 6 letter, he told the judge he fired into the door because he believed two people he knew were breaking into his apartment.

Whaley said Teeter was killed accidentally. She was not one of the two people he believed were breaking into his home.

"I feared they were there to rob, injure and or possibly kill me," he wrote. "I had no intention of shooting anybody, I just meant to scare them (home invader) off."

Whaley wrote that he bought handgun to protect himself.

He asked the judge why his attorney, Susan Flander, couldn't subpoena the pair, saying residents of his apartment had seen them at the scene the night of the shooting.

"They were very involved in this unfortunate incident and I'm afraid your Honor that they will flee from the state of Iowa if they are not supenad (sic)," Whaley wrote.

Flander did file a motion with the court to take depositions of the man and woman Whaley said he believed were breaking into his apartment.

The motion filed April 6, which was prosecutors resisted, said the pair had access to Whaley's apartment and vehicle the night Teeter was shot.

It said Flander's office had not been able to locate them.

The judge has not responded directly any of the letters. However, Foy issued two orders acknowledging receiving the letters.

"The Court is not able to decipher exactly what relief or action Defendant is seeking from it," Foy wrote in a March 9 filing. "Because Defendant is represented by counsel, the Court intends to take no further action the issues and concerns described by Defendant in either of his letters unless and until they are properly made the subject of an appropriate motion or application filed by his attorney of record, Susan Flander."

Flander, the target of several of Whaley's accusations, was allowed to resign as his attorney on April 13. Her request to withdraw cited a conflict of interest with a witness as well as Whaley's repeated requests for a new attorney.

Foy appointed the State Public Defender's Special Defense Unit to take her place.

First Assistant State Public Defender Kurt Swaim said he couldn't comment on a specific case.

He said attorneys in the Des Moines-based Special Defense Unit often represent defendants in cases where there's a conflict of interest among the regional assistant public defenders or if the regional offices have a heavy caseload.

The court has pushed back the trial to allow the new attorney time to prepare.

A trial date will be set during a conference on May 3.

Whaley remained incarcerated at the Cerro Gordo County Jail Thursday night on $500,000 bond.

 

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