Mark murder appeal turned down again

Jerry Mark

WATERLOO | The Iowa Court of Appeals has turned down the latest challenge filed by Jerry Mark in the 1975 slayings of his brother and brother's family.

Prosecutors said Jerry Mark traveled from his home in California to rural Cedar Falls where he shot and killed Les and Jorjean Mark, and their two children, Julie, 5, and Jeff, 18 months.

In his latest court battle, Jerry Mark had argued for retesting of DNA on cigarette butts found at the crime scene. He also said the district court should have granted a hearing on bullet evidence before it turned down his application for post-conviction relief.

In a ruling filed Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals noted that the results of DNA testing would have done little to undermine the state's case that Jerry Mark was behind the crime.

"We conclude there is no reasonable probability that testing of some of the cigarette butts with more advanced technology would have changed the outcome," the Iowa Court of Appeals said in its decision.

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Jerry Mark also argued that lead analysis of the bullets -- comparing metal from projectiles at the crime scene to a similar batch of ammunition from the same manufacturer -- was misleading.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said a judge did begin a hearing on the bullet evidence while the appeal was at the district court level.

But it said Mark and his attorney failed to pursue the matter after they were provided with a letter from the FBI stating its analyst gave accurate testimony during the 1976 trial.

Jerry Mark, now 70, is serving a life sentence at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

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Cops and courts reporter for the Courier

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