Becker visits library

Joan Becker, the mother of Mark Becker who shot and killed the Aplington-Parkersburg High School Football Coach Ed Thomas in 2009, spoke in Monticello on March 7. This was a co-sponsored event between the Monticello Public Library and the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition. Becker detailed her family’s history with the Thomas family, attending church together through the years. She said she never anticipated her son Mark doing something so tragic. Mark suffered from paranoid schizophrenia; though it would take a few years before the Becker family would even know their son’s true diagnosis. After multiple run-ins with authorizes, hospitalizations, and committals that were unsuccessful, it sadly led to the taking of a Ed Thomas’ life before the Becker family got the answers they had been searching for. Becker said Iowa’s mental health system is flawed and needs to be restructured. She said if the law enforcement and hospitals knew Mark’s background information, they would have been able to treat him properly, or knew not to allow him to check himself out of the hospital without his parents’ permission. On the day Ed Thomas was killed, Joan said they later learned that Mark planned to kill his parents, too. However, he wanted to obey the commandment of “Honor thy mother and father,” so he killed Thomas first. He was arrested before he could carry out the rest of his plans. Joan Becker also sold and autographed copies of her book “ Sentenced to Life” to those in attendance at her speaking engagement at the Monticello Community Building. (Photo by Kim Brooks)

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