Becker's lawyer to use insanity defense

Updated: February 10, 2010, 8:47 PM ET
Associated Press

SHELL ROCK, Iowa -- A judge has picked 36 potential jurors in the first-degree murder trial of the man accused of gunning down an Iowa high school football coach last summer.

The judge began the process Wednesday, seeking to choose 12 jurors and four alternates who will hear the case against 24-year-old Mark Becker. Becker is charged with killing Aplington-Parkersburg High School coach Ed Thomas last June. Becker's attorney will use a defense of insanity or diminished responsibility.

The smaller pool of potential jurors was chosen at random from 220 people initially told to appear. The judge also excused more than three dozen people who claimed they couldn't serve.

Thomas was the NFL High School Coach of the Year in 2005. Four of his players are now in the NFL.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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