ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (KCAU) — A man serving 50 years for murder has asked a court to reconsider his sentence after his uncle found a bullet hole in a building on a farm where the victim was killed.

Lee Christensen, now 25, was convicted of killing Thomas Bortvit in 2016. Prosecutors say Christensen shot Bortvit multiple times in a barn owned by Christensen’s grandfather.

In late July of 2022 an affidavit filed by Christensen’s uncle Steve Christensen said that he discovered a bullet hole in the roof of the barn in which law enforcement claimed the shooting took place. He was examining the building, which had been owned by his father before his death, to determine what improvements could be made. While examining the roof Steven Christensen said that he found a bullet hole near the overhead door.

Christensen said he looked for similar holes but did not find any. He also could not think of any reason for the hole other than the shooting of Bortvit.

“I thought this may be related to the shooting of Thomas Bortvit that occurred, I notified by nephew’s lawyer, and give this affidavit because it may be important to my nephew’s case,” Steve Christensen wrote in his affidavit.

In his motion, Lee Christensen argued that the shooting occurred during a fight with Bortvit and the two struggled over the handgun. According to the application for post-conviction relief, Bortvit’s DNA was found on the gun and the presence of the hole backs up the idea that there was a fight over the gun.

The state denied the basis of the appeal. It points to the fact that Lee Christensen confessed and told his family a false story, initially saying that he killed Bortvit with a rock. The state also points out that the claim was filed on the last day to file postconviction relief claims.

A judge has agreed to hear the case. The matter will go before a judge in April, who will make the determination over whether or not Lee Christensen will receive a new trial.