Monday, April 30, 2007

Heemstra Jury Verdict: Manslaughter

It's reported today that a jury in Montgomery County convicted Rodney Heemstra of the lesser offense of voluntary manslughter, a class C felony that could earn him a ten year jolt-considerably less than the previous sentence of life imprisonment for murder.

It was Heemstra's contention that he shot Tom Lyon in self defense in a confrontation that erupted over a piece of land that the two both wanted. Lyon had cattle on the land through a lease with the previous owner and Heemstra shut off the water for the cattle.

That led to a confrontation in which Heemstra walked back to his truck. loaded a rifle, and shot Tom Lyon in the head, killing him instantly. Then Heemstra dragged Tom Lyon's body behind his pickup truck and dumped it in an abandoned well and placed hay bales over it.

All this happened in January 2003, and because the lease was not being renewed, Tom Lyon would have had to have had his cattle off the land in March-eight weeks hence.

For that ill considered, rash, stupid and bloodyminded decision to pick up a weapon and settle a grievance at gunpoint, one man is dead, one will spend some years yet in prison, and two families are damaged beyond repair.

There is still the troubling evidence that Heemstra hid assets in an effort to evade the judgment in the wrongful death lawsuit that followed.

It is known, for instance, that when he was released from jail the first time, his steps took him to Wright County to sign over farmland that he had an interest in. He then spent the rest of the summer relaxing and was often seen water skiing on Lake Panorama.


At 2:09 AM, Blogger me said...

i watched the trial from beginning to end i beleive his punishment was to harse..he didn't even have a crimal record...good luck rodney


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