Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 03, 2009 7:37 AM

Man charged with OWI, endangerment

Area authorities arrested a Galesburg, Ill., man after he allegedly drove drunk with a young child in the car.

Robert Reeder, 35, was charged Thursday with OWI and endangerment.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies received a report of a possible intoxicated driver. Reeder was seen weaving in his lane, deputies said.

Reeder smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes, police reports show. He did poorly on field-sobriety tests and failed two breath tests.

Reeder’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child were also in the car, authorities said.

OWI is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,250.

Endangerment with no injury is an aggravated misdemeanor, generally punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Man charged with 3rd OWI

Authorities arrested a Nichols, Iowa, man Wednesday for allegedly driving drunk.

John Hudson, 45, was charged with third-offense OWI.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy saw Hudson park near a Casey’s General Store in Hills and urinate outside.

Hudson stated he had taken hydrocodone and was having problems with his balance because of it, authorities said.

He had bloodshot and watery eyes and smelled of alcohol, police reports show. Hudson failed all field-sobriety and breath tests. He admitted to drinking.

Third-offense OWI is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $9,375.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Police look for sex-abuse suspect

Iowa City police are looking for the man accused of sexual abuse after he allegedly assaulted a woman at an Iowa City homeless shelter.

Police obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday for Anthony Watson, 30, address unknown, on charges of third-degree sexual abuse.

According to police reports, the 20-year-old accuser was sleeping March 26 at the First United Methodist Church, 214 E. Jefferson St., which serves as an overflow facility for Shelter House. She awoke when Watson reportedly put his hand down her pants, digitally penetrating her. His other hand was allegedly fondling her breast beneath her shirt, officers said.

The victim reportedly moved to another part of the building and reported the incident the following day.

According to Iowa City police, the victim was acquainted with Watson and was able to identify him.

Police have been unable to locate Watson and said he may have left the area. He recently arrived in Iowa City from Dubuque and police said they believe he is originally from Chicago and has spent time in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Watson has an extensive criminal record, Iowa City police Sgt. Troy Kelsay said.

Watson is a black male, 5-10, weighing 155 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Police are asking for information on Watson’s whereabouts.

Third-degree sexual abuse is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Gay-marriage ruling today

The Iowa Supreme Court will rule today on the state’s definition of legal marriage. The decision for Varnum v. Brien will appear on the court’s website this morning.

Iowa law restricts marriage to one man and one woman, a definition six gay couples challenged with Varnum v. Brien, a 2005 lawsuit in the Polk County District Court. Twenty-six state legislators initially tried to intervene as defendants, but the court did not allow it on grounds that the lawmakers lacked sufficient interest in the case.

Lambda Legal, a civil-rights organization based in New York, represented the couples. They argued that barring same-sex marriages violates the Iowa Constitution’s promises of due process and equal protection.

The district court ruled in the couples’ favor in August 2007, but only one couple was married immediately after the decision; 5th District Judge Robert Hanson told courts to hold off granting marriage licenses until the Iowa Supreme Court heard from those who wished to appeal.

The Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling is the ultimate decision on the case because it is a matter of interpreting state law.

Gay-community advocates are planning a rally on the Pentacrest today at 5:30 p.m. in which local, state and national leaders are expected to explain the morning’s ruling. The group will meet at the Women’s Resource and Action Center to make signs and phone calls in preparation for the gathering.

“They’ll be either very happy or very disappointed,” said Laurie Haag, program developer at the center. “There might be a bigger crowd if they are disappointed, actually.”

—by Zhi Xiong

Man reports being robbed twice

A 22-year-old Washington, Iowa, man reported being robbed twice within 30 minutes early Thursday morning, authorities said.

According to Iowa City police, the alleged victim was smoking a cigarette outside the Airliner, 22 S. Clinton St., when a group of males approached him. They reportedly asked the man for cigarettes, then attacked him and knocked him to the ground. They also took his cigarettes, police said.

After the incident, the victim began walking to an acquaintance’s apartment. While searching for the apartment, he walked past a group of four or five males in an alley, possibly in the vicinity of the Post Office at 400 S. Clinton St., police said.

Some or all of the group attacked him from behind, knocked him to the ground, patted him down, and took his watch, officers reported.

The alleged robberies occurred between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., police said.

The man eventually went to the police to report the robberies, police reports show.

The victim was not visibly injured, though his dirty appearance was consistent with rolling around on damp ground, reports show. Police received no other third-party reports of either robbery, but friends of the victim had contacted police at 12:30 a.m. looking for him.

— by Regina Zilbermints

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