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Spirit Lake man pleads guilty on murder charge

SPIRIT  LAKE, Iowa — A Spirit Lake man entered a guilty plea Monday in Dickinson County District Court in the death of a Jackson woman that took place in early December 2013 at a residence near Spirit Lake.

Tailer Handsaker pleaded guilty to the charge of second-degree murder and two counts of willful injury in the death of Sara Grimmius.

Early court documents suggest the death may have taken place several days before authorities were called to the remote Spirit Lake neighborhood. 

Handsaker was originally facing a charge of first-degree murder, which was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Handsaker was sentenced to no more than 50 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge. He must serve at least 70 percent of that term, or 35 years, before eligible for parole. He was also sentenced to no more than 10 years on each count of willful injury.

The terms are to be served consecutively with credit given for time already served.

Handsaker was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim's family and a crime victim's assistance fund.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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