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Perjury hearing in Lyon County cold case delayed

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ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa -- A court hearing for an Inwood, Iowa, man's request to have perjury charges against him dismissed in connection with a three-decades-old slaying has been postponed for a third time.

John VanGammeren, who has also asking to have his case moved out of Lyon County, was scheduled to be in court today for a hearing. According to court documents, that hearing will be rescheduled for a time that is convenient for the court and counsel.

A status conference regarding the case will be conducted by telephone conference call Dec. 21.

In motions filed in Lyon County District Court in early September, defense attorney Edward Bjornstad of Spirit Lake said statements made by an FBI agent violated VanGammeren's constitutional rights, so VanGammeren can't get a fair trial in the local court.

Lyon County Attorney Carl Petersen disputed the allegation and also asked the court to deny VanGammeren's request to have a search warrant in his case unsealed.

VanGammeren, 82, was arrested in August by the Lyon County Sheriff's Office and charged with six counts of perjury, a class D felony. He is alleged to have lied to investigators when he was questioned June 19 and Aug. 14 regarding the death of Wilma June Nissen.

Nissen's decomposed body was found Oct. 4, 1978, in a ditch near Inwood. A California native, Nissen, 23, went unidentified until 2006, when her fingerprint was matched with records filed with the Los Angeles Police Department.


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