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State v. Fetters

Iowa Court of Appeals
562 N.W.2d 770 (1997)


Facts

When she was about 14 years-old, Kristina Joy Fetters (defendant) became a resident of a residential facility for the psychological and emotional treatment of children called Orchard Place. While there, Fetters had discussions with other young girls about running away from the facility and robbing and killing her 73 year-old great aunt, Arlene Klehm, by cutting her throat. One day, Fetters and her roommate Jeanie Fox packed their things and left. Once the girls arrived at Klehm’s house, they waited, out of site, for visitors to leave. While waiting, Fetters repeated to Fox her plan to kill Klehm and explained that Satan had given her the power to do so. After the visitors had left, Fetters and Fox went up to the door and Klehm let them inside. After a few minutes, Fetters struck Klehm in the head with a frying pan while in the kitchen, got on top of Klehm, and attempted to slit her throat. Fetters then got a bigger kitchen knife and stabbed Klehm in the back. During the attack, Klehm screamed for Fox to help her. After she had killed Klehm, Fetters looked for the keys to Klehm’s safe and truck but could not find them. The girls then left the house. After hearing sirens, Fetters started to cry and both girls ran until they found someone to call the police. After the police arrived, Fetters admitted to killing Klehm. Fetters was charged with first-degree murder. The juvenile court transferred jurisdiction to the district court. At trial, the other residents at Orchard Place testified that Fetters “seemed to know what she was doing” and had it all planned out. Fetters admitted killing Klehm but asserted that she was not guilty by reason of insanity or diminished capacity. Fetters was convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment, and she appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Habhab, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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