KCCI News reported today on three members of a Council Bluffs family who have been charged with first-degree kidnapping as well as willful injury. The charges stem from activities reported by their 20-year old mentally handicapped family member.
The family member ran away from home on February 19, 2013 and when found by strangers, was taken to Joshua House, a shelter for homeless men. It is reported that he told a shelter worker that he was being deprived of basic necessities like food and use of a restroom.
Other allegations involve the his stepmother restraining him in a garage, sometimes overnight, with dog leashes and chains. Additional information claims that the stepmother burned him with hot silverware. The young man had multiple burns on his back, left forearm, inner thighs and groin area. One of these burns was reported to be consistent with a clothing iron.
The man’s stepmother has been charged with willful injury causing serious injury and the man’s father and stepbrother are both charged with first-degree kidnapping. As the authorities investigate it is very possible the charges will be modified.
As it stands, all of these charges are serious and carry hefty punishments if convicted. Kidnapping, found in Iowa Code Chapter 710 is defined as follows:
“A person commits kidnapping when the person either confines a person or removes a person from one place to another, knowing that the person who confines or removes the other person has neither the authority nor the consent of the other to do so; provided, that to constitute kidnapping the act must be accompanied by one or more of the following:
- Intent to hold the person for ransom
- Intent to use the person as shield or hostage
- Intent to inflict serious injury upon such person, or to subject the person to sexual abuse
- Intent tp secretly confine such person
- Intent to interfere with the performance of any government function.”
Iowa Code Section 710.2 specifically defines kidnapping in the first degree. Kidnapping is considered in the first degree when the person kidnapped, as a consequence of the kidnapping, suffers serious injury, or is intentionally subjected to torture or sexual abuse. Kidnapping in the first degree is a class “A” felony, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The only way a person may be released on parole after a Class “A” Felony conviction is if the Governor commutes the sentence to a term of years or if the defendant is a juvenile.
The stepmother is also facing a Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury charge under Iowa Code Section 708.4. This is a Class “C” felony which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. A conviction on this charge only requires that the alleged perpetrator does an act which is not justified and which is intended to cause serious injury and actually causes serious injury.
Police say that the victim’s father and stepmother deny the allegations. It is very important to remember that persons charged with a crime are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY beyond a reasonable doubt.
The three individuals are in custody at the Pottawattamie County Jail, each being held at $100,000 bail. These charges are serious and the charged individuals will need experienced and hard working attorneys to defend them. If you or someone you love find yourself charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact the Stowers Law Firm.