Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mark Becker


The tragic death of Ed Thomas inspired a change to Iowa law that might have saved the beloved coach had it been in place in June 2009. Covenant Hospital was not obligated to notify law enforcement when Mark Becker's 48-hour psychiatric hold had elapsed. In Becker's case, he was released to his case worker — and not police, who were still waiting to charge him with the attack at Dwight Rogers' home. The next day, Becker killed Ed Thomas.

Chet Culver
Chet Culver

Soon after the shooting, the Iowa legislature proposed a bill that would close this loophole and allow magistrates to order hospitals to notify law enforcement before discharging a patient with an outstanding warrant. If such a bill had been in effect in June 2009, Thomas' murder might well have been prevented.

The so-called Ed Thomas Bill was signed into law on March 24, 2010 — the same month Mark Becker was convicted of murder. Upon signing the bill into law, Governor Chet Culver declared it a statute "that's going to save lives and prevent tragedy and get people the help they need before they commit such a horrific offense in the future."


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