MASON CITY | A Mason City man has been sentenced up to 50 years in prison after he was convicted of second-degree murder in December.
Larry Whaley, 61, fatally shot 19-year-old Samantha Teeter through his apartment door on Dec. 2, 2016. According to Iowa law, he must serve 70 percent of that sentence — 35 years — before he is eligible for parole.
David Teeter, Samantha's father, said he and his family were pleased with the sentence, but disappointed in Whaley's comments at the hearing.
"We were happy with the sentence, but saddened that when he spoke he took no responsibility for Samantha’s death, and feels everyone at trial including the detective lied and he did what anyone would’ve done," David Teeter wrote in a Facebook message to the Globe Gazette. "We believe he was solely responsible and justice was served."
Jesse Teeter, Samantha's brother, said he will miss his sister but was also happy with Whaley's sentence.
"Samantha was my goofy, annoying little sister," he said. "I'll never know her as a mature young adult. I feel robbed of life experiences, sorrowed to know she'll never be here with family, during gatherings/holidays."
"I feel justice was served fair and swift — once the trial started," he added about the verdict.
Following sentencing Tuesday, Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen also said he was pleased with Judge Christopher Foy's decision.
"We thought it was a just verdict and the family thought justice had been served," Dalen said.
During the trial, Whaley's attorneys — state public defenders Mike Adams and Jill Eimermann — argued he had been acting in self-defense, because he thought Corey Mays, a man allegedly involved in a prior shooting in town, might have been behind his apartment door.
The prosecution — Dalen and Iowa Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand — stated Whaley was acting reckless and was not justified in shooting through his apartment door.
Adams could not be immediately reached for comment via email or a phone call Tuesday.
The trial spanned four days, and jurors spent two-and-a-half hours before reaching a guilty verdict Dec. 21.
Jesse Teeter stressed that it's important that Whaley be punished for his actions.
"Whaley clearly doesn't understand what he's done," he said. "Or have a decent understanding of 'situational' awareness — (it's) a blessing to have such a person off of the streets."