A 26-year-old woman has been sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison for her role in a central Iowa homicide.
Jaycie A. Sheeder on Thursday was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the 2018 death of 38-year-old Jeremy McDowell in Newton. McDowell's body was found in a car Sheeder was driving after he had been badly beaten by another man with a bat.
The sentencing came after her attorney's motion for a new trial was overruled, court records show.
Dean Stowers, Sheeder's lawyer, said a new trial was needed for multiple reasons, which include allegations of inappropriate questioning of witnesses by a prosecutor during the trial and the allegation that her last counsel was ineffective. Stowers replaced a public defender in the case.
The motion was resisted by the state and denied by the court Thursday. Sheeder was also sentenced to 25 years in prison for first-degree robbery and two years in prison for being an accessory to murder after the crime.
The Coon Rapids woman was fined $625 and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to McDowell's estate and $7,500 to the state's crime victim assistance program.
Sheeder was found guilty of the three charges by a Jasper County jury in May.
Authorities say Sheeder helped Jeffrey L. Stendrup locate and assault McDowell, who was found dead June 22, 2018.
Sheeder actually called police at 3:13 a.m. June 22 to report that McDowell was in a car she was driving and needed medical attention. The vehicle, which was in the 1200 block of West 18th Street S in Newton, was registered to two people in Colfax, the sheriff's office said.
Deputies executed a search warrant at the home where the car was registered, and investigators determined McDowell was assaulted there, court records show.
A witness told officials he heard Stendrup yell at McDowell, saying, in part: "I'm going to kill you." When Stendrup stopped the beating, he told the witness not to tell anyone, otherwise he would burn the home down with him inside, the witness told authorities.
McDowell was not moving and did not appear to be breathing, the witness told deputies. He said the two men involved in the altercation bought and sold illegal drugs from each other.
Sheeder, believed to have driven Stendrup to the home that night, was outside the house during the assault, according to a complaint. Authorities said she kept silent about Stendrup's involvement in the attack and never tried to stop it.
Stendrup has a pretrial conference scheduled for Thursday. His trial is set to begin Oct. 23. In March he was charged with suborning perjury and tampering with a witness, according to court records. Stendrup wrote a letter to the witness stating he would be well compensated if he told police he was high and felt pressured when he gave his account of what happened June 22, 2018, according to court documents. Those charges have been merged into his murder case.
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