Ex-player pleads not guilty to killing coach

Updated: July 6, 2009, 4:21 PM ET
Associated Press

PARKERSBURG, Iowa -- The man accused of killing an Iowa high school football coach has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Coach Ed Thomas was fatally shot on June 24 in a weight room in front of about 20 students at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in northeast Iowa.

Twenty-four-year-old Mark Becker, a former player, pleaded not guilty in a written plea on Thursday.

Online court records show that Becker demanded a speedy trial, which means he will have to stand trial within 90 days. No trial date was immediately set.

Becker remains in the Cerro Gordo County jail on $1 million cash bond.

Thomas coached for 34 years in the community about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines and had guided several players to the NFL.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press