A rural Monona, Iowa, man has been sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison in the 2010 shooting death of his girlfriend and former Fennimore resident Angela Gabel. Christopher Thompson was found guilty of second degree murder following a trial jury on Nov. 18, 2011.
The sentencing handed down in Allamakee County, Iowa, Monday afternoon, mandates that Thompson shall be imprisoned for a term not to exceed 50 years, with credit for all time he has served since his arrest. He will serve a minimum term of confinement of 35 years. Thompson is also required to pay all court costs, fees, prosecution costs, and special surcharges required for these offenses, including $150,000 to the estate of Angela Gabel, or to her heirs if no estate is administered, as damages for wrongful death.
Gabel, a 1988 graduate of Fennimore High School, suffered two fatal gun shot wounds from a .22 caliber rifle on Oct. 2, 2010.
Had Thompson been found guilty of first degree murder, he could have faced a mandatory life sentence without parole. The definition of first degree murder in Chapter 707 of the Iowa Code includes the following element: “The person willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation kills another person.” Second degree murder does not involve such an element of intent, as noted in an article in The Standard newspaper of Allamakee County.
Also noted in The Standard, the very volatile murder was created by the combination of Thompson’s turbulent relationship with Gabel, Thompson’s post-traumatic stress disorder caused by military service in Iraq, and Thompson’s alcoholism.