The three men serving life terms for the 1994 murder of rural Decorah native Rebecca (Schnitzler) Hauser will be resentenced.
The Times Republican in Marshalltown reported last week Burt Smith, Derek Smith and Jayson Speaks appeared in Marshall County District Court Thursday for a hearing before their resentencing.
Twins Burt Smith and Derek Smith, and Jayson Speaks were sentenced to life in prison without parole after they were convicted in a jury trial. But because they were 15 at the time, they must be resentenced due to a 2013 Iowa Supreme Court decision that made mandatory life sentences for juveniles illegal.
Blake Privitt, an accomplice in the murder, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 75 years in prison.
Judge James Ellefson who presided over Thursday's hearing will decide who will represent the men at their resentencing hearings, Times-Republican Managing Editor Abigail Pelzer reported. Ellefson also will resentence the men; hearing dates were not discussed Thursday. Tom Miller, deputy Iowa attorney general, will represent the state in the matter.
Hauser was traveling on a rural road, a mile east of Liscomb near her rural Union home, when the Smiths, Speaks and Privitt - all runaways from Missouri -- used flashing emergency lights on their vehicle to stop Hauser Oct. 4, 1994. She was a few miles from her home returning from shopping for birthday gifts for her twin daughters and a stop at the Meskwaki Casino. Her husband, Dan Hauser, was at home with their four children.
After stopping her, the teenagers shot, stabbed and beat Hauser. They later told police they were planning to rob people to pay for their way to Canada. A passerby later noticed Hauser's vehicle and alerted law enforcement.
Marshall County Sheriff Ted Kamatchus, who led the murder investigation along with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, told the Times Republican it was one of the most violent crimes of his career.
"Time hasn't diminished what we discovered that day. I hope the court remembers that the loss was real and how violent these individuals were the time they perpetrated that crime," Kamatchus told the Times Republican.