Feb. 2003 – Murder Suspect’s Wife Talks About Finances

Iowa’s Only GR8 Professional Law Firm:


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

KCCI Channel News Online. KCCI Staff Writer. February 25, 2003.

Murder Suspect's Wife Talks About Finances

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- A Warren County judge held a bond review hearing Monday for Rodney Heemstra, who is accused of killing his neighbor near the town of Milo.

The Warren County Attorney argued that Heemstra's release on bond was no longer valid after he made plans to sell equipment and transfer land ownership to family members. The state was asking that the bond be secured by cash instead of by land put up by Heemstra's Father.

Judge William Joy denied the request to change the bond conditions Monday, meaning Heemstra will remain free until his trial.

Both sides said Monday they may ask for the April trial date to be moved back to sometime laters in the summer.Heemstra's wife Berta took the stand Monday to answer questions about the couple's finances. Berta said the family still hopes to farm around the area where they live. She said financial pressures from creditors and taxes forced the family to sell some land and assets.

Heemstra is charged with first-degree murder in the January shooting death of Tom Lyon. Authorities believe the men were involved in a land dispute.

Two weeks ago, KCCI NewsChannel 8 uncovered a paper trail of hundreds of acres of farmland recently transferred out of Heemstra's name in Hancock and Wright counties in northern Iowa. NewsChannel 8 also found out about land ownership transfers in Warren County as well as a large auction planned at the Heemstra family farm, which was held Saturday.

Lyons' widow has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Heemstra.

A civil judge added to a list of Heemstra's properties that the Lyon family may lay claim to last Tuesday. That keeps Heemstra from transferring certain properties and assets.