Judge tosses murder conviction
DES MOINES (AP) — A state district court judge has thrown out the murder conviction of a Tama man concluding there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the man killed his girlfriend 17 years ago even though a jury convicted him. The case is complicated by the fact that Cora Ann Okonski has never been found.
District Court Judge Mitchell Turner says in his ruling filed Monday that 51-year-old Tait Otis Purk deserves a new trial.
The judge says “there is not one shred of forensic evidence, eyewitness testimony or other direct evidence” that Purk killed Okonski in April 2000.
Prosecutors relied heavily on testimony from two men who met Purk while incarcerated.
Purk was convicted of first-degree murder in Marengo in May. The trial had been moved from Tama at the request of his attorneys.