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Matthews faces life for kidnapping, sexual abuse

BY OLIVIA MORAN | FEBRUARY 26, 2009 7:37 AM

A judge found Micah Matthews guilty of kidnapping and burglary on Wednesday.

Sixth District Judge Douglas Russell filed the ruling, convicting Matthews, 33, of first- and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary. Russell merged Matthews’ first-degree sexual-abuse charge with the burglary charge.

“I’m very pleased with the judge’s decision,” Johnson County chief prosecutor Janet Lyness said. “I think it accurately reflects the facts in this case.”

On June 5, 2007, the victim told police she woke up to her dog barking and observed a man — now known to be Matthews — in the door of her bedroom. Matthews demanded $500, holding the woman at gunpoint, but she told him she only had $7 or $8.

Matthews eventually forced her to drive to a local bank and attempt to withdraw the money, becoming angry when the machine did not allow her to do so.

The victim told a UI Hospitals and Clinics nurse that Matthews then said, “Now I’ll have to fuck you.”

Once back at her residence, Matthews sexually abused her, pistol-whipped her, and bound her hands and ankles before leaving.

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation criminalist Michael Halverson testified at the four-day trial that DNA from the victim’s vaginal swab matched the DNA of Matthews. He said only one in 100 billion would have the same DNA.

The defense, however, argued the state had no proof Matthews used a dangerous weapon during the crime — because investigators never found a gun — and prosecutors failed to prove the woman’s injuries were serious.

But Russell ruled Lyness and Johnson County assistant prosecutor Elizabeth Beglin proved Matthews used a dangerous weapon and the woman suffered serious injuries traceable to the sexual assault and the strike across her face.

The ruling “is not entirely unexpected,” said Iowa City attorney Davis Foster, who represented Matthews along with Paul Miller of Iowa City.

Foster said the defense will wait until the sentencing to give further comment.

First-degree kidnapping is a Class A felony and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary are both Class B felonies. A Class A felony conviction requires a mandatory life sentence in prison. A Class B felony is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Matthews’ sentencing is set for April 17.


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