A Tipton man who has been fighting criminal charges of assault filed after he says he rescued a friend who was being sexually assaulted is now facing new felony weapons charges.
James Licher, 32, was arrested in August on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of assault while displaying a weapon and false imprisonment after police said he confronted with a handgun two men who were having sex with a woman he knew.
Licher has argued before a judge that he was saving a friend who appeared to be motionless and too drunk to consent to sex when he encountered the threesome. That case is scheduled for a pretrial conference next week.
Meanwhile, on Feb. 26, Licher was arrested on new charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and acquisition of a weapon without a permit.
According to a criminal complaint, police executed a search warrant at Licher’s home in Tipton on Aug. 25 and found a Ruger P95 9mm pistol, according to the complaint. Investigators traced the weapon to a Tipton man who bought the gun at Scheels in Coralville, the complaint states.
During an interview with that man, investigators learned that he sold the handgun to Licher for cash after owning it for some time. He told police that Licher had been interested in acquiring the pistol, so he brought it to his home so he could look at some furniture Licher was willing to trade, according to the complaint.
In the end, the seller said he just needed cash so he eventually sold it to Licher in the summer of 2010, according to police.
The seller told officers that Licher did not provide him with an annual permit to acquire pistols at the time of the purchase, police reported.
According to Licher’s criminal history, he had felony convictions at the time of the alleged purchase. Police said he did not have a permit to acquire.
Licher posted bond in early March and is out of custody.
In his assault case, Licher requested a grand jury review the evidence because he said prosecutors rushed to judgment. His attorney, William Kutmus, said investigators ignored the woman’s statement that she was too drunk to remember what happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 24.
The woman said she went to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics hours after the sex act for a rape examination and submitted a urine sample. Officers told her they were investigating the incident as a possible sexual assault, according to Kutmus, but instead they arrested Licher.
Prosecutors have said they have evidence the sex act was consensual, including three unbiased witnesses. A judge denied Licher’s request for a grand jury and said the charges will stick.
If convicted, Licher faces prison time.