Theodore Gathercole in police interview repeatedly denies stabbing his neighbor

Trish Mehaffey
Published: February 5 2014 | 5:00 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:14 am in

Theodore Gathercole in a police interview repeatedly said he didn’t attack and stab his neighbor Frederick Rottmiller June 16, 2013.

Gathercole said he didn’t hurt or stab Rotmiller.

“Freddy said it was you, you, you,” Cedar Rapids Police Investigator Chip Joecken shouts at Gathercole during the interview. “Everything points to you. You’re in a lot of trouble.”

Joecken continues to tell him Rottmiller identified him as the person who stabbed him several times last year. He repeatedly asks him to show some remorse and admit what he did.

Gathercole defiantly says he can’t admit to something he didn’t do.

“That wouldn’t be right,” Gathercole said.

Gathercole, 52, is charged with attempted murder, first-degree robbery and willful injury. He is accused of stabbing  Rottmiller several times, causing life-threatening injuries. According to the criminal complaint, Gathercole asked Rottmiller for money for transportation but Rottmiller agreed to give him a ride when Gathercole attacked him. He and Rottmiller lived in the same apartment building.

Rottmiller testified Tuesday that Gathercole is the person that stabbed him that day. Rottmiller was stabbed in his abdomen, eye and neck. The injuries left him blind in one eye and he can't walk as as result of the assault.

The trial, which started Monday, may wrap up Thursday. The prosecution rested Wednesday and the defense will starts its case 1 p.m. Thursday in Linn County District Court.

Gathercole said in the interview that he saw Rottmiller standing by his truck about 10 p.m. and he asked him for a ride downtown. He said Rottmiller then went up to his apartment and never came back. That’s the last time he saw him that night. Gathercole said he just went ahead and walked down to check his girlfriend’s mail.

Joecken asked why would Rottmiller acccuse him.

Gathercole said he didn’t know. He liked “Freddy.” He’s a “great guy.” They had no problems.

Joecken asked Gathercole why he asked his girlfriend about the assault and how did he know about it.

Gathercole said he found out after returning to his apartment about 5 a.m. He heard it on the “news.”

Joecken said it wasn’t on the “news.” Then he suggests something must have happened between him and Rottmiller.

Gathercole denies it. He admits to borrowing money from Rottmiller in the past.

“I (borrowed) $50 from him,” Gathercole said. “My food card was stolen. We didn’t have any food or toilet paper or nothing.”

Joecken then has a crime scene investigator come in the room and take photos of his hands that have small cuts.

Gathercole quickly explains the marks are bedbug bites and from drywall work he was doing.

Joecken continues to ask him, yelling at times, to confess what he did.

Gathercole continues to deny it and near the end of the interview when Joecken says he’s going to be arrested for the assault, Gathercole tells him he understands and he will make his phone call to a lawyer.

First Assistant Nick Maybanks asked Joecken after playing the interview for the jury if Gathercole ever asked why police wanted to talk to him when Joecken met him at this workplace.

Joecken said Gathercole never asked why or what he wanted to question him about.

In other testimony, Dr. Ryan Sundermann, St. Luke’s Hospital emergency room physician, testified about Rottmiller’s multiple stab wounds. He said they were potentially life-threatening wounds and his condition was deteriorating by the time he was brought in.

Rottmiller had a penetrating injury to his left eye, a slash or penetration to the left front of the neck, a penetration to the left back of the neck and a deeper stab wound to his abdomen.

Rottmiller was able to tell Sunderman what happened to him but then his mental status started deteriorating and he went from answering questions to not being able to respond.

Sundermann said the abdomen and neck injuries could cause death, depending on what was found, there could also be risk of infection and there could be bleeding in the trachea, which could also lead to death. It was important to get him into surgery and evaluate his condition, he said.

Cedar Rapids Police officers also testified earlier about lack of physical evidence found at the crime scene and why they released the scene after an hour and didn't conduct further investigation until hours later on June 16, 2013.


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