Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MAY 11, 2009 7:30 AM

Man charged with indecent contact waives jury trial

An Iowa City man accused of fondling his 13-year-old daughter has waived a jury trial. A judge will hear his case July 27.

Police charged Randy Cole, 43, with indecent contact with a child. While driving his daughter to her mother’s house Jan. 17, he moved his hand up her inner thigh, records show. According to the police complaint, Cole stopped when the girl asked what he was doing.

His attorney, Peter Persaud, filed a motion May 6 to push back Cole’s pretrial hearing in addition to waiving the a jury trial. Court records show the defense needs time to interview the alleged victim.

The hearing is set for July 15.

If convicted of the aggravated misdemeanor charge, Cole could spend up to two years in prison and pay a $6,250 fine.

— by Zhi Xiong

Creekside Market has 2 burglary calls

Iowa City police responded to two burglary calls at Creekside Market early Saturday morning but were unable to catch the intruder, authorities said.

According to police, officers responded to the market, 2601 Highway 6 E., around 2 a.m. They saw the glass front door had been smashed open. Police cleared the business and searched the nearby area but no suspect information could be provided at the time.

Around 4:15 a.m. the same day, Iowa City police again responded to Creekside Market after employees inside the business allegedly heard a noise from the back of the building. Employees reported they inspected that area of the business and the person exited the can-recycling area and fled the area, police reports show.

The suspect is described as a tall, white male approximately 6-4, wearing dark pants and a dark top.

A break-in at Creekside Market also occurred April 13; unknown individuals shattered the glass front door and stole merchandise.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Man charged with third OWI

North Liberty police arrested a man for allegedly driving drunk after police reportedly saw him driving on the wrong side of he road.

Douglas Ramaker, 30, North Liberty, was charged May 9 with third-offense OWI.

Ramaker was stopped by officers for numerous traffic violations, including driving on the wrong side of Highway 965, police said.

He smelled strongly of ingested alcohol and had slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes, and admitted to drinking, police reports show. Ramaker failed numerous breath tests.

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

Ex-prof may reach plea deal

A former UI professor accused of assaulting his wife and violating a no-contact order will likely reach a plea before June 1, his scheduled trial date.

Police arrested Puneet Handa at his Coralville home Sept. 22, 2008. They found his wife with her face covered in bruises, records show. The woman said Handa, who taught in the Tippie College of Business, choked her and gouged at her eyes.

Handa faces an aggravated misdemeanor charge, which carries a maximum two-year prison sentence and a $6,250 fine.

In addition, police subsequently charged the 52-year-old with first-degree harassment after his Sept. 22, 2008, arrest. He allegedly called his wife’s residence from the Johnson County Jail and threatened to kill her, along with other members of their family.

For violating a no-contact order, the first-degree harassment charge is another aggravated misdemeanor.

Handa’s sentencing was originally set for last week, but his attorney asked to push it back. The sentencing is reset for July 15. Documents filed May 6 show Handa will likely settle for a plea agreement by June 1.

— by Zhi Xiong

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