A Cedar Rapids man’s kidnapping conviction in 2011 should have been considered as a “sexually predatory offense” because he confined the victim and had specific intent to sexually assault her, according to Thursday’s Iowa Court of Appeals ruling.
The court vacates the district court’s decision not to enhance sentencing for Jabari Walker, 32, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for third-degree kidnapping, and sends the case back to district court for resentencing.
The state appealed the sentencing, claiming Walker meets the enhancement criteria because Walker had specific intent to sexually assault the woman and that combined with his intentional confinement or removal of the woman is an “attempt to commit sexual abuse,” which qualified Walker’s conviction as a sexually predatory offense.
The district court judge determined Walker’s conviction didn’t qualify as a sexually predatory offense according to Iowa law because “intent to commit sexual abuse is not synonymous with an attempt.”
The state argued Walker’s specific intent to sexual abuse the woman, along with confining her, was equivalent to an “attempt to commit sexual abuse.”
The appeals court agreed based on previous case law. The court concluded Walker could serve more than 10 years if the district court determines a prior conviction in Ohio qualifies as a “prior conviction for a sexually predatory offense.”
According to trial testimony, Walker drove the 42-year-old woman against her will to an abandoned farmhouse on Alburnett Road in May 2011 and sexually assaulted her.
Walker’s sentencing was delayed for months. After the verdict was read in August 2012 he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs by deputies and as he made his way to the railing, he tried to lunge over it, but the deputies quickly reacted and pulled him back to safety.
While he was in jail, Walker quit eating, lost 65 pounds and went into a catatonic state, according to court records. The sentencing was postponed until a psychological evaluation was conducted, which found him competent.