Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

News

November 26, 2013

Judge denies McGinnis application

Knoxville — Judge Brad McCall filed an order today, denying convicted murderer Steven Dean McGinnis' application for post-conviction relief. 

McCall presided over a hearing held regarding the application on Aug. 29. McGinnis was convicted by a jury of the Sept. 21, 2008, murder of Robert Ohl outside of Melcher-Dallas. The two were friends who got to know each other through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

He was sentenced to life in prison in November 2009 and on Feb. 23, 2011, the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. The post-conviction relief application was his last appeal attempt. 

McGinnis based his application for post-conviction relief on many allegations, including incompetent trial counsel. At the hearing in August, the court heard from Dr. Bruce Sieleni, who never testified at McGinnis' trial despite having treated McGinnis while working for the VA and again at a state prison. At the hearing, Sieleni testified that McGinnis suffers from one of the worst cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder the doctor had ever seen. McGinnis' PTSD stems from his time serving in the first Persian Gulf War. 

McCall deemed that the decision of McGinnis' trial counsel to not put on Sieleni on the stand was a strategic decision. This does not demonstrate a lack of competence by the lawyers. McCall states more than once in his ruling that McGinnis did not offer any new evidence to demonstrate that the jury's verdict at trial would have been different, if not for his attorneys' actions. 

McGinnis also claimed that the attorneys should have filed a motion for change of venue, due to pretrial publicity. He failed to demonstrate how the publicity prejudiced the jury pool against him, according to McCall. 

Though Sieleni testified at the post-conviction relief hearing in regard to McGinnis' mental state, there was no evidence presented regarding McGinnis' mental capacity at the time of the offense. McGinnis' own statements to law enforcement and others around the time of the event provided more evidence that McGinnis was aware of what he had done, as well as memory of the act. 

"There is no question that McGinnis shot Ohl twice with his shotgun," McCall wrote. "There was substantial evidence from which the jury could conclude that he was well aware of his actions at the time of the shooting." 

McGinnis remains in prison. Assistant Marion County Attorney Tiffany Kragnes argued the case for the State in the post-conviction relief hearing. 

1
Text Only
News
  • care facility.jpg Supervisors looking for new management team

    The Marion County Board of Supervisors met in closed session Friday morning to discuss the future management of the Marion County Care Facility. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troy Rider.jpg Rider's motion granted

    Judge John Lloyd has granted a motion filed by Troy Neil Rider's defense, to limit extrajudicial comment by witnesses regarding the sexual abuse case against Rider. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • raceway concept drawing.jpg Raceway Rebate passes the House

    Rep. Greg Heartsill reports that the bill to provide up to $2 million in sales tax rebates to the Knoxville Raceway has passed out of the Iowa House of Representatives, 78-15. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction Trades pic 1 Marion County building permits on the rise

    It's expected to be a busy construction season around Marion County. According to County Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger, her office has issued 17 building permits since March 18. 

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troy Rider.jpg State responds to gag order request

    Marion County Attorney Ed Bull has filed a resistance, on behalf of the State of Iowa, to a motion made by Troy Neil Rider's defense attorney to restrict law enforcement's ability to comment on the pending case. 

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PHS FFA 10-73.jpg Pleasantville Greenhouse Plant Sales Begin Soon

    The Pleasantville High School Greenhouse will begin its annual greenhouse sales Saturday, April 19, and will continue through Saturday, May 24.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reeds.jpg Bussey pair facing several charges

    Two Bussey residents are charged in a pair of thefts in Otley and Pella on April 5 and April 11. 

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loebsack and Mitchell.jpg Video: Loebsack tours Knoxville Fire Department

    Knoxville Fire Chief Jim Mitchell welcomed Congressman Dave Loebsack and wife, Terry, to the fire station Saturday afternoon, April 12. 

    April 12, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • work on Young field.jpg Video: Young's Park field seeing improvements

    City of Knoxville crews have been busy working on the baseball field at Young's Park, with plans to renovate a forgotten field behind the Kiwanis Miracle Playground. 

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Robinson work 1.jpg Rock Island to be closed

    Rock Island, between Highway 14 and Grant, will be closed for approximately three days for sanitary sewer and street repairs. 

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Features
AP Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Events
Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
Other
     View Results