A 51-year-old Davenport native serving a life sentence for stabbing a man to death in 1985 has died.
Rick Dwayne Nebinger died Tuesday at University Hospitals, Iowa City, of natural causes due to stomach cancer, Iowa Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lettie Prell said.
His death came a day after Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said his co-defendant’s case could be affected by Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that a life sentence without parole for a juvenile is cruel and unusual punishment.
Nebinger was 25 years old when he and 17-year-old Christine Lockheart bound and stabbed Floyd Brown, a 79-year-old retired city bus driver, on Feb. 17, 1985, during a robbery attempt in Brown’s Davenport home.
Lockheart previously had worked as a housekeeper for Brown. He was stabbed 13 times and left on his bed with a knife sticking from his neck.
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Nebinger and Lockheart each were convicted of first-degree murder in 1985. Lockheart is serving a life sentence at the women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa.
Nebinger had tried unsuccessfully to appeal his murder conviction several times, most recently to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2000.
The inmate argued that at his trial, the state “unfairly surprised him” with footprint evidence after his attorney had given an opening statement saying there would be no physical evidence showing Nebinger was even inside the house when the murder occurred, records show.
Nebinger also argued that the trial court’s decision to exclude evidence about the “possible violent propensities” of Lockheart, who Nebinger claimed committed the murder, was a violation of his due process under the 14th Amendment, records show.