Man Convicted of Iowa Hit-and-Run That Killed Professor

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines man who police say intentionally ran over and killed a local college instructor has been convicted of second-degree murder in the case.

Jason Sassman, 50, was convicted on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register reported. Sassman had been charged with first-degree murder in the April 5 death of 38-year-old Lauren Rice, but a jury found him guilty of the lesser second-degree murder count.

Police have said Sassman was using meth when he intentionally ran over Rice as she walked her dog, which also died. Rice was an instructor at Des Moines Area Community College. Sassman told investigators he ran down Rice because he believed she was a criminal about to kill someone, police said.

Sassman would have received a mandatory life sentence had he been convicted of first-degree murder. He now faces up to 50 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction when he’s sentenced at a later date. The jury acquitted him of a second count of animal abuse.

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