News

Iowa Supreme Court denies Christensen new trial

Sat 6-8-2019

(Des Moines)-- The Iowa Supreme Court Friday issued a ruling denying a request for a new trial for an Estherville man who was found guilty of 2nd degree murder in the death of Thomas Bortvit, also of Estherville. Bortvit was reported missing on June 6th, 2015. His body was found the next day.

An Emmet county jury convicted Lee Christensen on the charge following a trial in July of 2016. Christensen was sentenced to 50 years in prison in December, 2016.

Christensen appealed his conviction on claims of jury misconduct, jury bias and prosecutorial misconduct.

During the trial, a comment was posted on social media regarding rumors saying there would be a riot if Christensen was found not guilty of 1st degree murder. He was convicted of 2nd degree murder the next day.

The Iowa Court of Appeals heard arguments on the appeal at a hearing October 9th of this year and reversed the district court ruling and remanded for a new trial.

The order issued today (Fri.) by the Iowa Supreme Court states that the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals for a new trial in the case is vacated and affirms the district court judgement.