'Forced' plea agreement ends Cedar Rapids kidnapping trial

Prosecutor: Extenuating circumstances led state to offer deal

Trish Mehaffey
Published: January 15 2013 | 10:10 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:05 am in
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Jury selection in the kidnapping trial of William Roby ended Tuesday morning when the state was "forced" into offering a plea agreement.

Roby, 51, of Cedar Rapids, originally charged with first-degree kidnapping, pleaded guilty to third-degree kidnapping and third-degree sexual abuse before the second day of jury selection began. In court, Roby admitted to holding a 62-year-old woman against her will for nearly 10 hours on May 15, 2011 and sexually assaulting her.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Roby abducted the woman from the common area of his apartment building. The woman told police he dragged her into his apartment and locked the door as she screamed for help.

He also threatened to kill her cat if she didn’t comply and threatened to kill her and himself if officers showed up, the woman told police. She was finally released by Roby after she convinced him to let her go to work the next day, and she called 911 when she got home.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jason Burns said "extenuating circumstances came up this (Tuesday) morning and the state was forced" to consider a plea agreement. He said he couldn't comment further until after the sentencing on why the plea deal was made.

A sentencing date hasn't been set, but Roby faces 20 years for both charges.

Roby was convicted by a jury last month in Webster County on assault causing serious injury and domestic abuse assault. He was free on bond pending the kidnapping charge in Linn County when his bond was revoked last August because of the assault charges involving his wife Aleta Roby, 47.

Aleta Roby told The Gazette in September that she wanted to be identified because she didn't want anybody else to be hurt by her husband. She said her husband assaulted her last August  in their Fort Dodge home, causing her injuries to her left ear drum, fractured her left eye and broke her dentures. She said she had attempted to leave him in the past but he threatened her children.

Roby hasn't been sentenced in the Webster County case but those sentences could run consecutively to the Linn County sentences.

Roby's criminal history also includes a 1991 conviction for attempted murder in Webster County. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but was released on parole in 2000 because of good conduct, according to Iowa Department of Corrections records.

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