A 46-year-old former Carroll man was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison this week for killing someone when he was caught stealing items from a Sioux City house to get money to buy methamphetamine.
Gary Lynn Dains Jr. was initially charged with first-degree murder and three other felonies for the July 2019 incident.
Here’s what happened, according to court records:
Dains went to live with his estranged wife in Sioux City, who rented a room in the house from the homeowner who also lived there. About a week before the killing, Dains went into the bedroom of the homeowner and stole collectible currency and a ring that he pawned for $47.
Dains admitted he went into the house again to steal more items but was confronted by the homeowner, whom he struck in the face and knocked to the ground.
“He attacked me, and I attacked him back,” Dains told investigators.
As the homeowner, who was 65 years old, slowly died on the floor, Dains searched the house for more items to steal and left with $120. He also stole the victim’s vehicle and drove it to a convenience store, where he bought a slushy.
Later that day, Dains gifted the stolen vehicle to a woman he didn’t know “in return for her kindness,” and she drove him to a casino.
In an interview with investigators, Dains said he is a meth addict who started abusing the drug when he was 13.
Dains lived in Carroll County more than a decade ago and was convicted of two felonies for using a stolen credit card and for drug possession. He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in 2008, but was released in 2010.
Dains later lived in Fort Dodge until he was imprisoned again in 2015 for theft and burglary. He was released the next year.
Dains was wanted by Tennessee law enforcement for a theft at the time of the 2019 killing.
His now-ex-wife Erika was also involved with a meth-related killing in 2014 in Deloit, when she was with two men who had gone to a rural acreage to steal scrap metal but were caught by the landowner and his companion.
The men shot and killed them and tried to burn their bodies.
Erika Dains made a deal with prosecutors to testify against the men — who were later convicted of murder — in exchange for a lesser punishment. She pleaded guilty to burglary and was imprisoned until 2018.
Erika Dains made the initial report to police that resulted in Gary Dains’ arrest for the 2019 killing when she saw him driving the victim’s vehicle.
A jury found him guilty in March of four felonies for voluntary manslaughter, ongoing criminal conduct, theft and burglary, and a judge sentenced him on Monday to up to 60 years in prison.
Before his trial, Dains attacked another inmate of the Woodbury County Jail in a dispute over a card game. Dains allegedly attempted to gouge out an eye of the other inmate and also ripped his ear in half with his teeth. Dains pleaded guilty early this month to willful injury but has not yet been sentenced.