- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TAMA, Iowa (AP) - A judge has overturned the first-degree murder conviction of an Iowa man in the 2000 disappearance of his fiancee, whose body has never been found.

Judge Mitchell Turner ordered a new trial Monday for Tait Purk, who was convicted in May in the death of 23-year-old Cora Okonski.

Purk claims Okonski left their Tama home and never returned. Prosecutors noted that there’s been no trace of her for 17 years, and argued Purk choked her and buried her body.

Turner says the verdict wasn’t backed by evidence and “a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.” He says prosecutors offered no physical evidence to establish a stuggle took place.

He says Okonski may be dead but “credible exculpatory evidence” suggests she was seen after the night prosecutors claimed she was killed. Turner says inmates who implicated Purk weren’t credible.

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