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Judge allows search for missing evidence in 1980 slaying

MUSCATINE (AP) — Lawyers for an Iowa inmate serving a life sentence for a 1980 murder conviction will be allowed to search for missing evidence that they want for DNA testing.

Judge Stuart Werling has ordered the Muscatine County attorney’s office to allow lawyers for William Beeman to search all evidence and storage locations for several items that may have semen or blood on them.

Werling also ordered the office to allow Beeman’s lawyers to review all files in its possession related to the investigation and evidence collected and to arrange a similar inspection of state records.

Beeman was convicted in the stabbing death of 22-year-old Michiel Winkel, whose body was found at Wildcat Den State Park. His lawyers say the conviction is questionable because it was based largely on a confession that he claims was coerced.

They have petitioned to test a sexual assault kit that included sperm and blood recovered from Winkel and several items of her clothing found at the scene. But Muscatine County and state authorities say they looked and can’t find the evidence.

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