A man who is accused of killing his son in his home in March has been cleared to stand trial.
Daniel Niebuhr, 59, of Fairbank, was deemed competent in a hearing on Monday by District Court Judge DeDra Schroeder after a psychiatrist at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale filed his evaluation on June 5.
At the same hearing, Niebuhr entered his not-guilty plea to first-degree murder. Schroeder then set a July 16 trial date, with a July 1 pre-trial conference. Both will take place in the Bremer County Courthouse in Waverly.
In a court filing by Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wading, Dr. Abraham Assad found that Niebuhr had the capacity to understand what is going on with the proceedings. The exam took place on April 8.
Niebuhr is accused of shooting and killing his son, Brock, 36, of Dike, in the defendant’s home on March 22. Following the incident, someone in the house called 911, which was directed to Buchanan County due to Fairbank’s phone exchanges. Since Niebuhr’s residence is in rural Bremer County, the call was forwarded to deputies there.
In an initial hearing, a magistrate judge set at $2 million bond, on which Niebuhr is still held. Meanwhile, the defendant injured a finger while in the Bremer County Jail soon after his arrest. Judge Chris Foy ordered medical treatment limited to the injury.
Additionally, Brock Niebuhr’s widow, Lauren, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Daniel Niebuhr on May 16. She is seeking damages from Brock’s death as well as her own mental health dealing with the murder, as well as punitive damages, all of which were unspecified in court documents.
First-degree murder is a Class A felony, which is punishable in Iowa upon conviction by life in prison without the possibility of parole.