NASHUA | The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the sentence of a Charles City man serving life in prison on gun charges linked to the slaying of a rural Nashua resident.
Randy Patrie pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges in 2013. Though Patrie was never charged with murder, a district court judge concluded Patrie had killed Carl "Ken" Gallmeyer and ruled he was eligible for sentencing as an armed career criminal.
On Friday, Patrie's attorney, Stephen Swift, argued before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Swift said because of the way Iowa law is written, Patrie's prior burglary convictions do not meet the criteria for consideration under the armed career criminal statues.
Without the career criminal enhancement, Patrie's maximum sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of sawed-off shotguns would have been 20 years.
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"That is the real deal in this case for my client is whether he faces two 10-year statutory maximums. If he's not an armed career criminal, the worst that he could have walked out of the courtroom with is 20 years," Swift said during oral arguments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney C.J. Williams argued for the government.
"This is very much a case where, if you look at the facts of this case, this is an appropriate case. If ever there was an armed career criminal, this man is it. And this is a case where the court did proper analysis," Williams said.
Gallmeyer, 70, was found dead with a wound from a .410-bore shotgun in his ransacked home in September 2012.
Prosecutors said Patrie, who had prior burglary convictions, killed Gallmeyer in a futile search for a safe filled with cash. Gallmeyer's stolen TV was discovered on the wall of Patrie's bedroom, and investigators found firearms stolen from Gallmeyer's home. A sawed-off .410 shotgun was in a cabinet in Patrie's home, according to court records.