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Supreme Court upholds Spencer man's murder conviction


Posted By: volunteer (email)
Date: 9/29/2020 at 00:45:22

The Iowa Supreme Court Friday upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a Spencer, Iowa, man.

Harold Arthur Duncan, 71 at the time of his arrest, was convicted in Clay County District Court for the January 2003 slaying of his wife, Karen Kay Duncan, 62.

She died after being shot twice. Her body was found in the couple's motor home in Spencer. Harold Duncan was found seriously injured and lying next to her in bed.

During the investigation he admitted that he shot his wife. But his conversations with officers varied, court documents state.

In one conversation he said she had the gun first, in another he said he shot her during an argument and in another he said he shot her while taking the gun away from her.

In January 2004, a jury found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

He appealed, contending the court erred in admitting evidence of his character and prior bad acts as improper rebuttal evidence.

In May, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, concluding that the evidence of prior bad acts was admissible since it was relevant to the case.

The Supreme Court concurred, ruling that Duncan's defense had relied on past evidence of abuse to support a self-defense claim at trial. Duncan can not argue now on appeal that such evidence was irrelevant and prejudicial, the court ruled.

From Sioux City Journal Feb 18, 2006


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