The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 5, 2013

Murder-for-hire appeal rejected

KNOXVILLE — The Iowa Court of Appeals has rejected Terry Cobbins Jr.’s, appeal of his murder conviction.

Cobbins was convicted of first-degree murder but claimed there was insufficient evidence to convict him. Judges found the appeal, which also claimed ineffective representation, could not overcome “ample proof that Cobbins murdered Teresa Miller.”

Cobbins claims he was not involved in the murder and his appeal argues physical evidence never tied him to the scene. Judges rejected the argument.

“The absence of physical evidence connecting Cobbins to the shooting does not defeat the jury’s verdict. A wealth of circumstantial evidence links Cobbins to the murder plot,” he said.

The court did not directly rule on Cobbins’ claim of ineffective counsel but preserved the issue as a potential item for post-conviction relief.

Cobbins was an employee at Marzetti’s Frozen Pasta in Clive, where he worked under Mike Miller. Miller and his wife, Teresa, lived in Knoxville.

Miller had an affair with Neida Pinon, another employee. After Pinon broke off the affair, Miller began coming by Cobbins’ house. Cobbins said Miller asked him to find a gun and to “take care of some business for him.”

Court papers show Cobbins talked about Miller’s request to have him kill Teresa with multiple people, including efforts to recruit two men as drivers to take him to the Miller home so he could kill her. Bernard Bussey, a former employee of Miller, was eventually recruited to drive.

Teresa Miller was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 7, 2011. Cobbins was eventually arrested in Wisconsin on an Iowa warrant in connection with the shooting. He was charged with murder in March 2011 and convicted one year later.

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