MOTHER DIES: Inmate’s Visit Request Denied

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It's been five months since 67-year-old Vern Huser's was convicted of first degree murder for the death of Lance Morningstar.

Now at Anamosa State Penitentiary, Huser's Attorney Alfredo Parrish requested his client be able to have a deathbed visit with his mother, Marjorie who was at an Ames hospice facility.

The Iowa Department of Corrections policy doesn't allow inmates serving a life sentence to leave prison for deathbed visits or funerals without permission from the department's director.

Last week, Anamosa’s Warden denied Huser's request.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Fred Scaletta said in a statement,

“The reason why a short-term offender is not likely to be approved for a bedside visit or funeral trip is that a longer period of prison adjustment is necessary to determine should there be any security risks or concerns.”

Numbers provided by the Iowa Department of Corrections shows in 2013 there were ten deathbed visits and 46 funeral visits granted.

So far in 2014 there have only been four deathbed visits and 23 funeral visits granted.

In the past several years only two inmates serving a life sentence have been granted a leave for a funeral or deathbed visit.

Scaletta says if a deathbed visit is denied the inmate is allowed daily phone calls and the opportunity to Skype or video conference.

If a funeral trip is denied the inmate is allowed to watch a video of funeral.

Huser's mother passed away on Sunday.

In a letter filed Monday to the Iowa Attorney General’s Officer and prison officials Parrish said,

“Hopefully, someday this policy will be reviewed, and just as a policy allowing mothers to bond with their babies and spousal visitations, we will understand the value of inmates being allowed to say goodbye to their parents.”

Huser is currently appealing his murder conviction.



  • LRB

    The tragedy of this is that the mother died without her son by her side. She wasn’t a criminal….her son was. Nobody should die alone….

  • carol

    There are many, many people, not incarcerated, who arent afforded the opportunity to have deathbed visits of loved ones for reasons too numerous to list.

  • Adrienne

    I commend the state of Iowa for denying his request, however, it still ticks me off that his complaint is acknowledged as top news. He is in prison for murder. If you kill someone you give up the right to say goodbye to your loved ones. He whines that prison is hard….boo hoo. I saw my mother being murdered, I didn’t get to say goodbye, neither should the murderer be allowed to see his mother. Serve your punishment!

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