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Man charged in Monona County murder case waives right to jury trial

Man charged in Monona County murder case waives right to jury trial

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ONAWA, Iowa -- A Castana, Iowa, man accused of killing his grandmother has chosen to have a judge decide his case instead of a jury.

Public defender Jennifer Solberg on Friday filed a waiver of Eliot Stowe's right to a jury trial. District Judge Zachary Hindman accepted the waiver at a Friday pretrial conference and will preside over the trial, scheduled for April 14 in Monona County District Court.

Stowe, 22, has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder for the slaying of Cheryl Stowe, at her rural Castana home sometime from June 23-26, 2018.

Stowe was arrested Nov. 20, 2018, and charged with murder, months after Cheryl Stowe's body was found wrapped in a rug in a well-hidden area near her home on June 27, 2018, a day after co-workers had contacted authorities to check on her because she had not shown up for work.

An autopsy report said that Stowe's death was the result of "complex homicidal violence," and evidence found in her home indicated blunt force trauma.

According to court documents, Cheryl Stowe, 66, had told friends that her grandson's behavior was becoming more aggressive and their relationship was strained.

Solberg filed notice a year ago that Stowe would rely on an insanity defense at trial.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Stowe would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

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