An Iowa man accused of brutally killing his beau's suitor, a Black man, and setting the victim's corpse on fire in a ditch because of a "love triangle," has been found guilty in Jasper County, South, Carolina.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Steven Vogel, 32, of Grinnell, a white man, was convicted of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in the death of Michael Williams, 44, a black man, whose body was found burning in a rural Jasper County ditch on Sept. 16, 2020, Daily News reported.

Three other Grinnell residents Julia Cox, 55, Roy Garner, 57, and Cody Johnson, 29, were also charged with abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence, and accessory after the fact in connection with Williams' death.

On Sept. 12, 202, Williams was reportedly killed by strangulation and his body was left in Vogel's basement wrapped in cloth, plastic, and carpet. A few days later, on Sept. 16, 2020, the suspects wrapped Williams' body in duct tape and drove to a rural area near Kellogg, set the body on fire, and threw it into a ditch, CBS News reported.

Williams was Black and all four suspects involved in the murder were caucasian. Due to this, Williams’ family initially suspected that he was killed because of racism. However, officers stated that the incident was not a random act and that there was no evidence to back that Williams was killed because of his race.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Vogel allegedly told three people that he had killed Williams out of jealousy triggered by a “love triangle” involving the suspect’s girlfriend. The prosecutors reportedly presented evidence and witnesses supporting the claim during the trial that started on Nov. 10.

At court, Vogel's attorneys suggested during their closing statements that Williams' killing was not premeditated and claimed that the prosecutors lacked DNA evidence to prove the killing.

"Williams had a family. He had a life, and he (Vogel) took it from him. He strangled the life out of him,” Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown said during closing arguments on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the Keokuk County Courthouse in Sigourney.

Meanwhile, Vogel is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13.

A former NFL athlete has been charged with murder and tampering with evidence after he allegedly burned his girlfriend’s body after killing her last year. This is a representational image. PIXABAY

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