Murder conviction affirmed despite Facebook juror threats

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DES MOINES, Iowa. – The Iowa Supreme Court says the second-degree murder conviction of a northwest Iowa man will stand concluding the jury that convicted him wasn’t overwhelmingly influenced by Facebook rumors of a town riot if he wasn’t convicted.

The case involved two young men from Estherville, Iowa interested in the same woman.

Lee Christensen, now 22 and serving sentence of up to 50 years, was convicted of shooting Thomas Bortvit, who was 19 when he died in 2015.

Christensen appealed the conviction claiming jurors heard of the social media postings during deliberation.

The Iowa Court of Appeals last year ordered a new trial. The Supreme Court on Friday reversed that ruling concluding Christensen failed to show the verdict would have been different if jurors hadn’t been aware of the social media posts.

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