Murder in the Heartland is examining the murder of Nicole Berte by Randy Bode in Kossuth County, Iowa, in 2000.
On November 17, 2000, Berte and Bode were drinking at Pep’s bar in Algona, IW. The pair stayed into the early hours of the following day, and Bode became very drunk.
At some point between 1:30 am and 2:00 am, Berte agreed to give Bode a ride home; unfortunately, this act of kindness would lead to the mother’s murder.
A short time later, Berte’s remains were discovered in a burned-out pickup truck along a gravel road to the south of Algona. She had been raped and strangled.
The local cops embarked on a ten-month investigation before Kossuth County Sheriff Kevin Van Otterloo arrested 24-year-Bode in September 2001 and charged him with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse. The cops subsequently learned that Bode had a history of sexual abuse.
Randy Bode admitted to killing Nicole Berte
The killer decided to confess his crimes and struck a deal with the prosecution. Bode pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and second-degree sexual abuse.
In March 2002, Bode was sentenced to ten years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and received up to 25 years for sexual abuse. He is expected to remain in prison until 2031.
Following the murder, Berte’s husband, Chad Berte, took out a lawsuit against Pep’s bar in the hope of pursuing damages. Under Iowa law, if a bar serves an individual too much alcohol, they are responsible for their behavior even after leaving the bar. This can include anything from drunk driving to assault and murder.
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murders from America’s heartland.
Allen Wooten from Camden, Arkansas, claimed he was having an affair with coworker Ruiz Stone and even said she had threatened his family. However, all we know for sure is Wooten beat Stone to death with a pipe and then dumped her remains under some sticks. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Sarah Washington was a 25-year-old aspiring model when she was found shot dead lying on the floor of her apartment in Kankakee, Illinois. The killer, Rex Frank, was a violent thug who had been an acquaintance of Sarah’s boyfriend.
The marriage of Stacy and Dene Shoemaker was in serious trouble. And on one faithful morning, Dene shot his wife twice in the head and then tried to make the crime scene look like a home invasion.
Murder in the Heartland airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.