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Lang sentenced to life in prison for trooper slaying

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GRUNDY CENTER — A Grundy Center man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing an Iowa State Patrol trooper during a 2021 standoff.

Under Iowa law, Michael Thomas Lang, 42, will not be eligible for parole on a charge of first-degree murder. He was also sentenced to a consecutive 30 years for attempted murder and assault on an officer.

He was also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to the estate of Sgt. Jim Smith.

Judge Joel Dalrymple handed down the sentence Monday morning in Grundy County District Court. It came after the judge dismissed a defense motion for a new trial.

In May, a jury found Lang guilty of first-degree murder in Smith’s death as well as attempted murder for shooting at another trooper who was driving an armored vehicle at the end of the standoff and assault on an officer for fighting with a Grundy Center police officer during a traffic stop that sparked the incident.

Eluding charges were dismissed.

Authorities said Lang refused to pull over for an April 9, 2021, speeding stop and instead lured the police officer into a rural area where he knocked away his Taser and began struggling with him. A passerby and a sheriff’s deputy intervened, and Lang drove home and refused to come out for police.

Smith was shot in the chest and leg with slugs from a shotgun when he and others attempted to enter the kitchen to apprehend Lang.

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