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Piper sentenced to life for Lange murder

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Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2001 12:00 am | Updated: 11:14 am, Wed Sep 26, 2012.

DES MOINES (AP) -- A Des Moines man was sentenced to life in prison for the death of a businesswoman who was found bound and strangled in a West Des Moines motel in 1993.

Donald Piper, 40, made no public statement as he was given the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder Wednesday for the slaying of Patricia Lange, 36.

Alfredo Parrish, Piper's attorney, filed papers within hours of the sentencing serving notice of Piper's intent to appeal. Parrish said the appeal, expected to be ruled on late next year at the earliest, will focus on prosecutors' late disclosure of some evidence during the trial.

Piper faces a second trial in October in the 1997 stabbing and strangling of Clive hotel maid Zurijeta Sakanovic.

During the Lange trial, Piper denied ever meeting the victim, saying DNA evidence linking him to Lange's hotel room must have been from a previous sexual incident.

Piper had been the Holiday Inn's maintenance chief until two months before Lange was killed. His job gave him access to master room keys at the hotel.

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