A teen accused of killing his 5-year-old foster brother over Labor Day weekend has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge, according to documents filed Friday in Harrison County, Iowa.
Cody Metzker-Madsen, 17, is accused in the death of Dominic Elkins, 5. Dominic was killed as the two boys played outside Aug. 31 at a rural home north of Logan where the two were living. Both were foster children in the care of Don and Julie Coolman.
Metzker-Madsen's attorney, Michael Williams, a public defender, also has requested that the case against Metzker-Madsen be moved to juvenile court.
Williams also has asked that Metzker-Madsen be transferred to a juvenile detention center in Council Bluffs pending the outcome of the trial.
Because Metzker-Madsen is a minor, he is separated from other inmates at the Harrison County Jail and is being held in solitary confinement, according to court documents. Williams describes this as a violation of his client's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30 on these matters.
Metzker-Madsen is “mentally challenged'' and has “anger issues,” but seemed to respond well to the Coolmans' guidance, according to relatives of the couple. Williams says in court documents that his client has a “variety of psychological difficulties.”
Metzker-Madsen had lived in the Coolman home for about three years, while Dominic had been there a few weeks.