The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 29, 2013

Longtime McGinnis psychiatrist not contacted

KNOXVILLE — A Marion County man's appeal of his 2009 murder conviction focused Thursday on his defense's failure to contact a psychiatrist.

Steven Dean McGinnis was found guilty in 2009 of the Sept. 21, 2008, murder of Rob Ohl. McGinnis and Ohl knew each other through the VA Medical Centers in Knoxville and Des Moines.

Dr. Bruce Sieleni testified in McGinnis' post-conviction relief hearing that defense attorneys in the 2008 murder case never contacted him, even though he treated McGinnis for years,

A veteran who served in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, McGinnis suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His defense of PTSD playing a role in Ohl's murder has previously been rejected by the court.

Though Sieleni had not treated McGinnis since 2004, Sieleni had knowledge of McGinnis' mental condition. Sieleni left the VA's employ in February 2006, to work for the Iowa Department of Corrections. When McGinnis entered DOC custody, Sieleni began seeing him again.

Sieleni describes McGinnis as someone who has greater problems than other patients.

"He has a significant - a very significant - mood disorder," Sieleni testified, including flashbacks. McGinnis occasionally loses himself among his surroundings and is unaware of what is going on.

The court also heard from Scott Gratias, a private investigator hired by McGinnis' defense. According to Gratias, the State struck witness Robin Matrie from its witness list shortly before the beginning of the murder trial. This made things difficult for the defense, as part of the strategy they had been developing for a year was to implicate Matrie in Ohl's murder.

"I wanted to point the finger at Robin," Gratias said. "I think she played a part in this."

Matrie was a recreation director for the VA prior to the murder. She took the stand as well, testifying that she was friends with McGinnis, and had known him since the 1990s. Because she knew McGinnis prior to the professional relationship developed through the VA, it did not violate the policy regarding fraternization between staff and patients at the time, Matrie testified.

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Tulip Time schedule

    Tulip Time is just around the corner. Here's the complete schedule for events.

    April 23, 2014

  • Centerville drug take back set for April 26

    On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Appanoose County sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired

    April 23, 2014

  • Iowa delays plan to move inmates out of old prison FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Corrections is delaying plans to close the 175-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary after discovering problems in the heating and cooling system in its $132 million replacement. The department said Tuesday

    April 23, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Iowa gets nearly $72M in yearly tobacco payment Eds: APNewsNow. DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa received $71 million last week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs. The Iowa Attorney

    April 21, 2014

  • Volksweg.jpg New Section of Volksweg Trail Now Open

    The 1.25 mile newly constructed section of the paved Volksweg Trail between Fifield Recreation Area and the new Robert's Creek Trailhead has been opened.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Managing concerns about falls with program The fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in severe physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Many older adults also experience increa

    April 21, 2014

  • North Mahaska Jazz North Mahaska Jazz Band are Class 1A state jazz champions

    The title is the fourth in the past six years for North Mahaska's jazz juggernaut.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • New boilers cost district $380,000 The summer boiler replacement projects will be getting underway after the Centerville School Board approved a $380,801 bid from Capital City Boiler and Machine Works out of Des Moines during their April 14 meeting. Six bids were received and the boar

    April 18, 2014

  • Troy Rider.jpg Judge grants motion on witness comments

    Judge John Lloyd has granted a motion, filed by Troy Neil Rider's defense, to limit extrajudicial comment by witnesses regarding the sexual abuse case against Rider. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National