Iowa Veggie Can Killer Convicted of Murdering Girlfriend
The gruesome details were recounted this week in the trial for the brutal murder of 56-year-old Rhonda Howard of Des Moines, who prosecutors say was bludgeoned to death by her 58-year-old boyfriend, Tony Arterberry, seen above.
The Des Moines Register lays out the scene as described in the trial. The list of "weapons" used by Arterberry was unconventional, to say the least. Howard was allegedly assaulted, choked, beaten with a shower rod torn from her bathroom wall, and finally bludgeoned to death with cans of vegetables that broke open her skull.
Prosecutors convicted Arterberry of first-degree murder and robbery in Howard's death. At the crime scene, there were "numerous signs of struggle", according to investigators. They found a cigarette butt with his DNA next to Howard at the bottom of a flight of steps in a basement, DNA from both on a bloody sock, his DNA on a beer can found in her trash, and his fingerprints on the broken shower rod that appeared to match some of her injuries.
Prosecutors chillingly described how Arterberry left no doubt as to his intent.
"He told her exactly what he was going to do, and he did exactly what he said he was going to do," prosecutor Michael Salvner told jurors during opening statements.
Court records state he is slated to be sentenced on December 21. The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder is life without parole, but Arterberry also has a separate trial pending, scheduled for January, on charges of his alleged assault against Howard four days before the murder.
Defense attorneys for Arterberry say he will appeal.