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Thomas Bibler trial

Thomas Bibler is escorted into the courtroom during the opening day of his murder trial in Plymouth County District Court in Le Mars, Iowa, in July. Bibler was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder for the stabbing death of his sister, Shannon Bogh.

LE MARS, Iowa -- As photos of Shannon Bogh flashed on the courtroom wall, Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond said the young woman should be remembered for many things.

Being a victim should not be one of them.

"She certainly was an outstanding member of our community -- a nurse, a wife, a mother," Raymond said Friday. "I don't want Shannon's last memory today to be as a victim. ... I don't think that is the legacy of Shannon Bogh."

Minutes after the slide show, District Judge Jeffrey Neary sentenced Bogh's brother, Thomas Bibler, to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder. Neary last month found Bibler, 36, of Le Mars, guilty of fatally stabbing Bogh on June 11, 2016, while they talked outside her Le Mars home. Bibler must serve 35 years before he's eligible for parole. He'll be given credit for the approximately 20 months he's served in jail since his arrest.

When given the chance to speak before he was sentenced, Bibler declined.

Public defender Billy Oyadare said he will appeal the conviction and declined further comment.

The crime will continue to affect Bogh's family, especially her husband and children, her mother in law, Lisa Bogh, said in a victim impact statement read by Raymond.

"There are no words to express the loss our family has endured and will continue to endure," Lisa Bogh wrote. "The loss of her presence and her love is felt by everyone who knew her."

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Neary, who presided over the trial after Bibler waived his right to a jury trial, determined that Bibler was under the influence of a sleeping aid at the time of Bogh's death and, therefore, was involuntarily intoxicated. He believed Bibler stabbed Bogh, but Neary found him guilty of second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder, reasoning that Bibler's intoxication prevented him from forming the specific intent to commit the crime, an element required by state law to prove first-degree murder.

Neary found Bibler not guilty of willful injury and going armed with intent for the same reason. Specific intent is not an element needed to prove second-degree murder.

An autopsy showed that Bogh, 27, died of internal bleeding after a major vein in her chest was cut by a sharp object. Authorities never located the knife or other object used to stab her.

During the trial, which took place in July and, after a three-month break, concluded on Nov. 1 in Plymouth County District Court, Bibler testified that he had taken an Ambien sleeping pill left over from a previous prescription and other prescription drugs the night his sister died and didn't remember anything from that night. A psychologist testified for the defense that the sleeping drug could have caused Bibler's memory loss.

Raymond presented evidence showing a series of frustrating events for Bibler throughout the day of Bogh's death culminated in the stabbing. Raymond challenged the intoxication defense, calling a psychologist who testified that several studies have linked Ambien to sudden violent acts, including homicide, committed by users who had no memory of committing them.

In addition to serving his prison term, Bibler must pay $150,000 restitution to Bogh's estate.

Neary said there likely was little he could say to Bogh's family members to give them comfort.

"It's a tragedy that goes all the way around," he said. "This is a pure, plain and simple tragedy."

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