Nathaniel Byron Kassel, courtesy Brookings County SD Sheriff’s Office/Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Sheldon, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man behind bars in Primghar on a murder charge after his mother was found dead in her Sheldon home — has pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, 41-year-old Nathaniel Byron Kassel of Rock Rapids is charged with First Degree Murder in the death of his mother, 62-year-old Jody Lynn Duskin, whose body was found inside her home at 604 4th Avenue, across the street southwest of Sheldon City Park on March 23rd. Charges of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and dominion or control of a firearm by a felon were dismissed. Kassel filed a written plea of not guilty to the murder charge.

Authorities say on Saturday, March 25th, the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner conducted a forensic autopsy, ruling Duskin’s death a homicide.

Kassel was found in Flandreau, South Dakota at a cannabis dispensary.

While it would be unusual if the case is not continued, at this point, Kassel’s pretrial conference is scheduled for May 15th and his trial is scheduled for June 20th.

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