Family of Grinnell man murdered in 2020 wants to pack the courtroom during convicted killer’s appeal

Oral arguments begin on Jan. 12 in the appeal of the man convicted of murdering Michael Williams.
Michael Williams
Michael Williams. Photo courtesy of Williams family.

Steven Vogel, the white man convicted of killing Michael Williams, a Black man in Grinnell whose body was found burning in a ditch in 2020, has filed an appeal that will be heard in January by the Iowa Court of Appeals. A jury found Vogel guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and is serving his sentence at Anamosa State Penitentiary. The Williams family considers the murder a lynching and is pushing for tougher hate crime laws in Iowa and for federal hate crime laws to apply to this case.

Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 12, on the 3rd floor of the Iowa Judicial Building, 1111 E. Court Ave., in Des Moines. Argument time is limited to 10 minutes for each side and five minutes for reply by the appellant, which is Vogel. The Williams family wants the public to pack the court to increase media attention on the case. 

Correction: The address of the Iowa Judicial Building was listed incorrectly in the email newsletter. It has been updated above.

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