Inmate who’d beaten his girlfriend to death dies

IOWA CITY (AP) — A man imprisoned for beating to death his girlfriend nearly 23 years ago has died at an Iowa hospital.

Rick Bird was pronounced dead at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, the Iowa Corrections Department said. He was 72.

Bird was found guilty of first-degree murder in Union County for killing Linda Trenkle, 47, in Creston in February 1997. Prosecutors said Bird used a hammer to hit Trenkle several times in the head after she slapped him.

Bird began his life sentence on Oct. 24, 1997. It wasn’t his first time in prison. In 1993 Bird shot and wounded the Creston police chief during a standoff with officers.