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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - An 81-year-old Washington County man, who was serving a 50-year sentence for killing his wife in 2010, died Tuesday of natural causes at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
James Dean Blum, a former Wellman City Council member, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder and sentenced in February 2011.
According to testimony, he killed his wife, Patricia Blum, 67, by holding her head down into sofa cushions and smothering her on Jan. 11, 2010. Her cause of death was asphyxiation.
Blum waited nearly 30 minutes to call 911 to report her death, according to testimony.
Blum and his wife had argued that day, according to testimony. But the argument escalated after she decided to leave and backed the car into the garage door. That's when Blum held her head down into the sofa cushions.
When police arrived, Blum told them they had argued and Patricia ran the car into the garage door. Blum told police he went outside to fix the door and when he came back inside their home, she was on the floor with a black eye. He didn't know what happened.
The defense maintained Blum didn't kill his wife.
Blum had been an inmate at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, according to prison officials.
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