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Tait Purk seeks new trial in murder conviction

June 22, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A motion for a new trial for Tait Otis Purk was filed on June 19 in Tama County District Court in Toledo on his 1st degree murder conviction. A hearing on the motion has been set for July 14 by Judge Mitchell E. Turner.

Purk's sentencing on the murder charge has now been reset for July 28 at the Tama County Courthouse, It had orginally been scheduled for July 10 at the Iowa County Courthouse in Marengo.

Purk, 50, was found guilty of murder by an Iowa County Grand Jury on May 10 following trial proceedings lasting eight days. He was found guilty in the death of his fiance, Cora Ann Okonski, then age 23, in mid-April, 2000. Okonski has never been located following her disappearance at that time.

Article Photos

Tait Otis Purk listens during questioning while in the witness stand in his 1st degree murder trial in May at the Iowa County Courthouse in Marengo.
Chronicle-News-Herald photo/John Speer

The case was investigated over the years by Tama Police and the Tama County Sheriff's Office. In 2015, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agents, the Iowa Attorney General's Office and Tama County Attorney's Office joined in the probe. Purk was subsequently charged on Dec. 2, 2016.

At that time he was serving a sentence at the Ft. Leavenworth Federal Prison on unrelated drug and weapons charges.

In the motion for a new trial, Purk's public defender, Scott Hunter, claims the jury's verdict" is contrary to law or evidence, the jury's verdict has been decided by means other than a fair expression of opinion on the part of all the jurors and no legal judgment can be pronounced based upon the whole record."

Purk is currently being held at the Anamosa Men's Reformatory court records show.



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