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Man Accused of Shooting to Death Iowa Football Coach Sentenced to Life
ALLISON, Iowa (AP) -- A judge has sentenced an Iowa man to life in prison after the family of slain high school football coach Ed Thomas gave tearful testimony about the impact of Thomas' murder.

Mark Becker was convicted March 2 of first-degree murder, which carries an automatic life sentence without parole. The 24-year-old Becker gunned down Thomas at the Aplington-Parkersburg High School weight room on June 24, 2009.

Iowa District Court Judge Stephen Carroll says Becker "imposed a nightmare" on Becker's and Thomas' families, along with the town of Parkersburg.

Carroll says Becker made a choice when he shot Thomas.

A jury earlier rejected Becker's plea that he was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Becker declined to comment before his sentence. His attorney, Susan Flander, says "schizophrenia is not a choice."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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