O’BRIEN COUNTY, IA- In a shocking turn of events, a 42-year-old man from Iowa has decided to plead guilty to the charge of first-degree murder for the killing of his 62-year-old mother. Nathaniel Byron Kassel, who had previously texted family members about his intention to murder his mother, has reached an agreement with the prosecutors. The incident took place in their shared home earlier this year.
According to Iowa state law, a conviction for first-degree murder comes with a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The plea deal was confirmed by O’Brien County District Court Judge John M. Sandy, who filed court documents on September 1st, stating that an agreement had been reached between the District Attorney’s Office and Kassel regarding the plea and the subsequent punishment.
The court has scheduled a joint plea and sentencing hearing for Kassel on September 18th at 8:30 a.m. Judge Sandy has also instructed Kassel’s attorney, Jon Loos Jr., a public defender from Sioux City, to submit a formal guilty plea before the hearing. Initially, Kassel was set to stand trial on October 17th, but the trial was postponed twice, pushing the start dates from June and August.
The tragic incident came to light when the Sheldon Police Department responded to a distress call about a deceased adult female in a home on the 600 block of 4th Avenue in Sheldon, approximately 225 miles northwest of Des Moines. Upon arrival, the first responders discovered the victim, later identified as Jody Lynn Duskin, Kassel’s mother. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy report that was conducted by the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner has confirmed that Duskin died from a gunshot wound to the head. This discovery allowed authorities to rule her death as a homicide.
Kassel was apprehended in Flandreau, South Dakota, the following day. The Santee Sioux Tribe police chief reportedly spotted Duskin’s 2013 Ford Edge at the Royal River Casino & Hotel and arrested Kassel at a nearby cannabis dispensary. Two handguns, believed to be from Duskin’s home, were found in Kassel’s possession.
Further details about the incident were revealed in a criminal complaint obtained by the media. Kassel had sent a text message to several family members on the night of March 22nd, stating his intention to kill his mother. Hours later, he was overheard on a phone call admitting to having “made a mistake and hurt someone.”