Mark Becker To Stand Trial In Ed Thomas Slaying

We’re not sure if there’s any such thing as “good news” when a murder trial starts going forward - after all, one man’s dead, and another is looking at life without parole - but such is the nature of justice and punishment, both of which are sorely needed in Parkersburg, Iowa.

Mark Becker Ed Thomas

That’s where, earlier this summer, venerated head coach and community leader Ed Thomas was allegedly gunned down by a troubled ex-player, Mark Becker. Despite the relatively easy identification and apprehension of Becker shortly thereafter, Becker has pled not guilty to the the first-degree murder charge, which will mainly serve to make this situation more difficult for all parties involved, and his attorney was angling for Becker to be declared unfit to stand trial. That didn’t happen, though, as a judge has just ruled Becker will face trial after all.

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Dispatches From Ground Zero: RAGBRAI (Morning)

As annual sporting traditions go, few match both the scope and novelty of RAGBRAI, an acronym for Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.* You can figure out pretty easily from the name what all is involved. What started as an offhand idea from DES MOINES REGISTER editorial writer Donald Kaul for a nice week-long summer vacation has turned into a decades-long annual event that attracts several tens of thousands of riders, both from Iowa and abroad.

Lance Ragbrai
(No, Lance isn’t here this year, though we’re pretty sure Mr. Pork Chop is.)

So when we learned that the event would go right through the home of SbB’s Senior Midwest Analyst, Adam J, we couldn’t help but force him to wander the engorged streets of Indianola, documenting the conquering masses and their Spandex, body odor, and beer. Welcome to the Alcoholic Tour de France… de Iowa.

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Clerical Snafu Let Accused Coach Killer Go Free

New details are beginning to emerge about Mark Becker, the accused shooter of beloved Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas, including his arrest the previous weekend. After using a baseball bat and his car to terrorize a random couple, he lead Butler County deputies on a car chase before being taken into custody and sent to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Mark Becker Ed Thomas

(Becker [L], accused of shooting & killing Coach Thomas [R])

But somehow Becker was released from the hospital and just left, which came as a surprise to Cedar Falls police, who had asked the Butler County deputies to notify them because they had planned to arrest him on two felony charges relating to the assault and chase. So instead of being behind bars or continuing to be under hospital care, Becker was able to roam the streets and carry out his plan to kill his former coach.

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Beloved Football Coach Shot And Killed At School

It was almost about 13 months ago that a massive tornado struck the town of Parkersburg in northeast Iowa, flattening the small town. One of the first reconstruction projects was the football field, and for good reason; many towns find a common bond in their high school football team, but few programs are as prolific as Aplington-Parkersburg; the “Sacred Acre,” as the field is called, has been the home of several NFL veterans, all under the tutelage of longtime head coach and teacher Ed Thomas.

Ed Thomas
(Thomas, leading his team in prayer before their first playoff game after the tornado.)

So it’s with an unbelievable amount of shock that we learn today that Thomas was shot several times at the school’s weight room this morning, and he passed away shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital. No students were harmed, and the suspect is reportedly in custody, so this appeared to be a targeted attack.

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Iowa Prep Baseball: A Whole Lotta Zeroes Goin On

So the Pittsburgh Pirates select Norwalk High (Des Moines, Iowa) pitcher Matt Dermody in the 26th round of the MLB draft, and tell the senior lefty that they will sign him, but won’t quote any numbers until they “see him pitch during the summer.” This may not have been wise.

Matt Dermody

Dermody threw a 6-inning perfect game on Tuesday, striking out all 18 batters he faced, as Norwalk beat South Tama 10-0 (game was stopped due to the mercy rule). Oh, and he also had two home runs. In the second game of the doubleheader, Norwalk teammate Kole Klocko threw a five-inning no-hitter as Norwalk again beat South Tama 10-0. You’ll get nothing and like it! Read more…

Shawn Johnson Video Causes B.S. “Controversy”

We already mentioned it as a throwaway link in yesterday’s Speed Read, because it was a funny parody of the strange treatment of thoroughbreds in the horse racing industry but nothing meriting more than one line in a morning post, but in case you missed it THE ONION put together an obviously, ludicrously fake piece about Shawn Johnson being euthanized after breaking a kneecap. We’ll post it below if you never saw it.

Shawn Johnson's Breeding Stock
(Wait, so none of this real?!)

For whatever reason, be it her “America’s Sweetheart” status, her young age, or the fact that people in her native Iowa have nothing better to do than overreact about anything involving local celebrities,  the DES MOINES REGISTER decided to ask people close to her about the video. Which was satire, people. Surprise, surprise, mock outrage ensues:

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Two Imbeciles + Two Rented Golf Carts = Hilarity

What is it about Iowa and golf and states beginning with the letter I? I suggest shutting down all courses until we get to the bottom of this misbehavior. Today comes word of a pair of individuals from Waterloo, Iowa, who rented two golf carts at a local course even though, apparently, they had no clubs. That’s your first red flag right there.

sad, really

One of the men, Cody Allan Lamprecht, was arrested last week after he and another man allegedly used the carts as bumper cars.

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Blog-O-Rama: Padraig Harrington Wins the Open

  • FANHOUSE has all the details of Padraig Harrington’s British Open victory in their live blog.

    Padraig Harrington

  • TMZ investigates the sleeping arrangement of Alex Rodriguez and fitness models.
  • ODENIZED has footage of NBA rookie Joey Dorsey getting T’d up…in a summer league game….and he wasn’t even in uniform.
  • THE BIG LEAD takes a field trip to Vegas to cover last night’s UFC card while KEEP PUNCHING blogged live from last night’s “Affliction Banned” card.
  • DEADSPIN reports that Iowa football recruit Riley Reiff is fast, especially when he’s partially naked and being chased by the police.

23 YO Teacher Also Boys Head High School Coach

An Iowa high school music teacher is hoping to hit the right notes as coach of the boys’ basketball team.

Michelle Brock boys HS coach

The DES MOINES REGISTER has the story of Michelle Brock, band director for Paton-Churdan High School (enrollment: 41) , and leader of the boys’ varsity squad. And if that’s not enough, she also takes time to sing the national anthem before games.

This is Brock’s first season at the helm, only a year removed from graduating from Buena Vista University. So far, Paton-Churdan is 3-8 - which doesn’t sound encouraging, until you learn that the Rockets have already matched their win total from last year.

How do the students and locals feel about a young woman in charge of a boys’ team?

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