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Purk motion for new trial under advisement

July 14, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Arguments for a new trial in the 1st degree murder conviction of Tait Otis Purk were heard by Judge Mitchell E. Turner in Tama County District Court in Toledo Friday morning, July 14. Purk, 50, was found guilty of murder by an Iowa County Grand Jury on May 10 following trial proceedings lasting eight days. He was found guilty in the death of his fiance, Cora Ann Okonski, then age 23, in mid-April, 2000. Okonski has never been located following her disappearance at that time in Tama. The case was heard in Iowa County on a change of venue form Tama County.

Judge Turner heard arguments Friday from defense attorney Scott Hunter who questioned witness testimony in which he charged there was a lack of corroboration and the report the court received a jury member felt "threatened" by family members "staring" at her during the trial. it was not clear whether the reported feeling came form Purk or Okonski family members.

Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren argued there was witness corroboration of the testimony in which two of the witnesses gave accounts of Purk admitting to the crime.

Article Photos

Tait Otis Purk confers with his defense attorneys Scott Hunter (left) and Aaron Siebrecht following a hearing on his motion for a new trial in Tama County District Court in Toledo on Friday morning, July 14, 2017.
Chronicle photos/John Speer

Judge Turner said he would try to rule in the case before the sentencing date later this month and allowed a request by Heeren for the prosecution and defense to submit briefs to him by July 21.

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