‘I’m killing Jody’: Man who texted family just before executing his mom to plead guilty


Nathaniel Byron Kassel (O'Brien County Detention Center)

Nathaniel Byron Kassel (O’Brien County Detention Center)

A 42-year-old man in Iowa accused of executing his own mother in cold blood plans to formally admit that he was responsible for fatally shooting the 62-year-old woman inside their shared home earlier this year.

Nathaniel Byron Kassel — who texted family members that he planned to kill his mom just before he allegedly went through with the deed — reached a deal with prosecutors in which he has agreed to plead guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the March 2023 slaying of his mom, Jody Lynn Duskin, The N’West Iowa Review reported.

Iowa state law mandates that defendants convicted of first-degree murder serve a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

O’Brien County District Court Judge John M. Sandy on Sept. 1 filed court documents stating that the District Attorney’s Office and Kassel had come to an agreement on the pleading and punishment, the report states.

Judge Sandy scheduled a joint plea and sentencing hearing for 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, court records show. He also ordered Kassel’s attorney, Sioux City Public Defender Jon Loos Jr., to file a formal guilty plea with the court prior to the proceeding.

Kassel had been scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 17 following two continuances that delayed the proceedings from starting on previously scheduled dates in June and August.

According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, officers with the Sheldon Police Department at about 4 p.m. on March 23 responded to a call about an adult female found deceased inside of a home located in the 600 block of 4th Avenue in Sheldon, about 225 miles northwest of Des Moines.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found the victim — later identified as Duskin — who was pronounced dead on the scene. Duskin — whose body was discovered by an unnamed family member — had reportedly been dead for several hours. An autopsy performed by the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner two days later determined that Duskin died on March 23. Her manner of death was determined to be a homicide and the cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities in South Dakota at about 12 p.m. on March 24 located Kassel in Flandreau and placed him under arrest. The Santee Sioux Tribe police chief reportedly spotted the 2013 Ford Edge registered to Duskin at the Royal River Casino & Hotel and took him into custody at the nearby Native Nations Cannabis Dispensary.

He was reportedly found with two handguns taken from his mother’s home.

A copy of the criminal complaint obtained by the Review provided additional details about Duskin’s death.

According to the report, Kassel at about 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 sent a text message to several family members stating, “I’m killing Jody,” referring to his mother. Several hours later, at about 11:30 p.m., he was reportedly overheard having a conversation with someone on the telephone during which he said that he had “made a mistake and hurt someone.”

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