ALLISON, Iowa (AP) — A judge sentenced a former high school football player to life in prison Wednesday, telling him he had chosen to commit an evil act in killing his former coach, Ed Thomas.
Mark D. Becker, 24, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for gunning down Thomas at the Aplington-Parkersburg High School weight room on June 24, 2009.
A jury convicted Becker of first-degree murder in March, rejecting an insanity plea. The conviction carried a mandatory life sentence.
Before formally sentencing Becker, District Court Judge Stephen Carroll told him that his actions had affected countless people. Carroll noted that Thomas, a nationally known coach, often spoke of the choices individuals made.
“Mr. Becker, you have brought unresolved chaos to their lives, and chaos is evil,” Carroll said. “Coach Thomas was right, Mr. Becker. We are free to choose, that is what makes us human.
“That freedom to choose means freedom to choose good and freedom to choose evil.”
Becker was given the chance to speak but declined.