The Ottumwa Courier

May 11, 2007

Two Centerville men going to prison for five years

Adams, Horn pleaded guilty to attacking newspaper editor

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer

BLOOMFIELD — The two men who attacked an area newspaper editor last fall are going to prison.

Centerville residents Wade Adams, 27, and Jeffery Horn, 26, were each sentenced to five years in prison Friday after they pleaded guilty to willful injury, a class D felony, earlier this year.

The two were convicted of punching, kicking and stomping on Centerville Daily Iowegian Managing Editor Dan Ehl outside a Centerville bar on Sept. 1, 2006. Ehl suffered a broken leg and injuries to his face.

“I’m glad justice has been done,” he said, “because I don’t think anyone should be ambushed and beaten no matter what their profession is. I know it got more attention because I’m a journalist, but I don’t think that should happen to anyone.”

Ehl claimed the attack was retaliation for a routine article he wrote after a city council meeting. During the meeting, one of the subjects the council discussed was Adams’ liquor license.

“I didn’t know what to expect, because it could have been five years probation or a combination of both [probation and jail time],” he said. “Some people were surprised that they [got] the full five.”

Ehl has been meeting with two British visitors at the bar that night. One of them took photos immediately after the incident, and they were entered into evidence, as were witness accounts of the attack.

“There were two of them and they were bigger than me; it was obvious it wasn’t just a common bar room brawl. [Adams] admitted to the police I hadn’t hit back,” Ehl said.

Of course, he added, that couldn’t really have happened anyway since he was quickly beaten unconscious.

He did not attend Friday’s sentencing.

These days, friends are being protective of Ehl, especially now with the sentencing over. But he said he doesn’t let them keep him from conducting his day-to-day activities.

“Some people have worried about retribution,” he said, “but you can’t let that rule your life.”

The case had been moved to Davis County from Appanoose County on a change of venue request.

Appanoose County Attorney Robert Bozwell could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mark Newman can be reached at 683-5358 or by e-mail at mgnewman@mchsi.com.