Samantha Bevans

An Iowa woman will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2002 death of her stepmother.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, a Benton County jury found Samantha Bevans, 35, guilty last month of first-degree murder in the July 2022 killing of 58-year-old Jodie Bevans. On Friday, a judge handed down a life sentence and ordered Bevans to pay $150,000 in victim restitution.

During her trial, Bevans admitted she partially covered Jodie’s face with a pillow, intending to step on it, but stopped when Jodie vomited. She claimed the victim was still breathing when she left the bedroom and told an investigator she didn’t think Jodie had passed away.

She attempted to pin the blame on her boyfriend, Tacoa Talley, claiming that Talley not only acted alone but abused her and “distorted her reality of the situation,” ABC 7 reports.

Bevans also said the Snapchat video was made only to get a reaction from Talley. In the video, both Talley and Bevans are seen reportedly confessing to the murder.

Special Agent Holly Witt of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation testified that Bevans admitted to placing the pillow over Jodie’s face. Bevans then demonstrated how she “ground” her foot on the pillow.

A medical examiner testified that Jodie had facial abrasions consistent with a pillow being held over her face and blunt force trauma on her left cheek, likely from being struck by an object or a fist. Her official cause of death was listed as asphyxiation.

Bevans carried out the killing for “payback and payout,” according to prosecutors, and the defendant knew there was a safe with money in the victim’s home. Bevans chose July 14, 2022, knowing family members would be camping while Jodie, a nurse, would stay behind for work the next morning.

Prosecutors said Bevans wanted revenge after Jodie kicked her out for sneaking Talley into the house. Family members testified that Bevans was also angry because Jodie didn’t attend a court hearing with her concerning a custody issue.

“The world became darker for all of us that night,” Jodie’s son, Davis McKenna, said during an impact statement. “Tomorrow started without her and the sun rose and found her eyes — just never to be as bright.”

Meanwhile, Talley, who was also convicted of murder in the case, is currently serving a life sentence after his conviction last year, The Gazette reports. 

[Feature Photo via Benton County PD]

Additional reporting by Leigh Egan

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