The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a northwest Iowa woman found guilty 10 years after the crime.
Tracey Richter claimed she shot 20-year-old Dustin Wehde in self-defense in 2001. She told police two or three intruders had entered her home and she was trying to protect her three children when she shot and killed Wehde.
Richter wasn’t charged with murder until 2011 after investigators say they found evidence showing she had set up the shooting to try to place blame on her ex-husband so she could gain an advantage in a custody dispute.
Investigators say Richter mentioned evidence in the case to a friend that police had specifically not released. Forensic evidence also showed Richter had fired another bullet into Wehde’s head after it appears he was already dead.
Richter’s attorney pursued the defense that she was justified in shooting Wehde on self-defense grounds. She was convicted of first degree murder in 2011 and has been serving a mandatory life sentence in prison.
Richter appealed her conviction claiming there wasn’t enough evidence to rebut her justification defense, the court abused its discretion by not allowing a psychological testimony from her expert, and her attorney didn’t provide effective assistance and failed to challenge the weight of the evidence against her.
After reviewing the evidence presented in Richter’s trial the court says it does not “preponderate heavily against the verdict.” The court also says there is no reasonable probability that had Richter’s attorney challenged the weight of the evidence a new trial would have been granted.