Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

News

March 27, 2014

Appeals Court affirms Whitworth decision

Des Moines — The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling made by Judge Martha Mertz regarding an application for post-conviction relief made by convicted kidnapper Michael Leonard Whitworth. Judge Thomas N. Bower wrote the opinion, which affirmed Mertz's ruling on March 26. 

A jury convicted Whitworth of the crimes of first-degree kidnapping and third-degree sexual abuse. He held a mentally "low-functioning" woman against her will from the evenings of Oct. 12-13, 2005. She was first held at her own apartment, then his, then back at hers. 

Whitworth claimed the two had a prior consensual sexual relationship. During this incident, police found evidence that he had beaten and sexually assaulted the victim during the kidnapping.

The case went to trial in 2006. The kidnapping conviction comes with a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. 

In response to his conviction and sentencing, Whitworth filed an application for post-conviction relief. He based his application on a claim that he had ineffective counsel at trial. 

A hearing was held in October 2011 in which the two men who defended Whitworth in the original trial offered testimony regarding Whitworth's defense.

“For the most part, this was a he said, she said case,” Defense Attorney David Pargulski testified at the October 2011 hearing. He added that he felt the victim was not credible.

He and co-counsel in the criminal trial, Chris Kragnes, hired investigator Scott Gratias to aid in Whitworth’s defense. Pargulski, Kragnes and Gratias all testified at the hearing that they discovered the victim had multiple sexual partners at the time of the assault.

However, they were not allowed to discuss this at Whitworth’s criminal trial.

Judge Gary Kimes granted a “rape shield” during the trial. This precluded the defense from discussing the victim’s sexual history with Whitworth or anyone else. Pargulski and Kragnes believe that if they had been able to discuss this, the jury may have arrived at a different decision.

Text Only
News
  • streetscape July 29.jpg Paving may begin late next week

    The Third Street project is about three weeks behind, but paving may begin late next week. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Playground to be closed

    The wooden playground structure at Auld Park will be closed Thursday, while the City applies a new coat of sealant. Caution tape will be placed around the structure. When the sealant dries, the structure will be reopened. 

    July 29, 2014

  • Shrine Bowl 19.jpg Slideshow: Shrine Bowl Marion County was well-represented at the annual Shrine Bowl in Cedar Falls on Saturday. Football coaches Jay McKinstrey of Pella and Eric Keller of Knoxville led the south team, which won 23-7. The Pleasantville High School Dance Team also played a big role in the pregame festivities.

    July 28, 2014

  • library.jpg New library at Auld Park

    The City installed this new library at Auld Park Wednesday afternoon. The Optimist Club helped create this new way for the people of Knoxville to share literature.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • marked bricks.jpg Bricks being marked, intersection to close

    Streetscape Project Manager Richard Brees is going around the square once again, marking bricks that require replacement before the project is accepted.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Republicans.jpg Republicans to hold events
    The Marion County Republicans are holding events in Knoxville and Pella Saturday, July 26. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fawn.jpg Marion County photo contest winners

    Winners of the 2014 Marion County Photo Contest were announced at the Marion County Fair. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seusical for web.jpg Seusical opens Friday

    Seussical the Musical will be performed live on stage at the Pella Community Center over the next two weeks. The show will feature some familiar Knoxville faces, including lead character "Cat in the Hat" performed by Knoxville High School student Colby Jones and "Horton the Elephant" played by 3M employee Todd Weber. Other Knoxville actors include Greg May as the General and Liz DeMoss as a Who.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • MINE logo.jpg Drug bust in Pershing

    The Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement drug task force executed a search warrant in Pershing last night, leading to one arrest. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • MINE logo.jpg Two arrested on drug charges

    The Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement drug task force executed a search warrant in Knoxville last night. A man and a woman were arrested. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Features
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results