The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

July 16, 2014

Plea settles kidnapping case

OTTUMWA — An Ottumwa man originally charged with kidnapping will not serve prison time after a plea bargain to a lesser charge.

Adem Anota received a sentence of one year in jail with credit for time served and the balance suspended after pleading guilty to false imprisonment.

The difference in potential sentences is significant and illustrates the idea of lesser included offenses. The original charge in the case was a Class A felony, one of only a handful of crimes that are considered the most serious under Iowa law. The state’s criminal code requires a life sentence upon conviction for Class A felonies.

But those charges generally have a longer list of alternative convictions. If a person killed someone but a jury decided it was not first degree murder, jurors could in some cases convict the defendant of second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. Those are called lesser included charges.

Anota pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, a lesser charge included under a kidnapping charge.

In other area cases:

• Clifford Williams received a two-year suspended sentence on a weapons charge. The charge of assault on a peace officer drew a 365-day sentence, with all but 15 days suspended and credit for time served.

• Daniel Vandello is scheduled for sentencing after pleading guilty to ongoing criminal conduct. Burglary charges have also been filed against Vandello in a separate case.

• Beau Brandi Simpson is scheduled for a jury trial in October on an arson charge.

• Seth Urgenson’s trial on charges of domestic abuse and prohibited acts is scheduled for November.

• The local public defender’s office is withdrawing from Shawn Forney’s defense against charges of ongoing criminal conduct and forgery. Withdrawals are most commonly granted to avoid conflicts of interest.

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