August 2, 2017 - 11:38 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — The Iowa Court of Appeals has denied the appeal of an Alton man who is serving a life sentence, with the possibility of parole, for a 1976 murder.

In 1979 a jury convicted John Walter Mulder of First Degree Murder in the shooting death of 55-year old Jean Homan in her Alton bedroom in April, 1976.  Immediately before firing at Homan, Mulder had aimed his rifle at her husband, Carl, but the rifle misfired. Following his conviction, Homan received a mandatory life sentence.  He was 14 years old at the time of the murder.

A 2015 Supreme Court decision allowed Mulder to be resentenced, since it was determined by the court that a mandatory life sentence for a juvenile amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.  Following that ruling, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad commuted Mulder’s sentence to life with the possibility of parole after 60-years.

In 2013, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the  Governor’s blanket commutation was not right because each case required an individualized sentencing hearing.  As a result, Mulder was resentenced in Sioux County in May of last year, to a term of life with the possibility of parole after 42-years. Mulder appealed that sentence, asserting that the 42-year minimum amounted to a life sentence.  The Iowa Court of Appeals denied his appeal in a decision issued Wednesday, and affirmed Mulder’s sentence of Life with the possibility of parole after 42-years.

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