A Fort Dodge woman received a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison Monday for her role in an botched escape from the Webster County Jail in August 2009.
Amanda Bevar, 26, was found guilty April 29 on four charges stemming from her attempted escape from the jail and assault of a correctional officer.
On Aug. 16, 2009, Bevar overpowered a female correctional officer, choked her to the point of incapacitation and struck the officer on the head multiple times with a flashlight early in the morning. Bevar then took the officer's keys and opened the door of a cell housing Jasmine Watts. Using the keys, Bevar and Watts left the jail through locked interior and exterior doors. The two escaped down a stairwell leading to the first floor lobby of the Law Enforcement Center. The two were apprehended on the second floor of the building.
Bevar was found guilty of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony; assault with intent to inflict serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanour; escape, a Class D felony; and assault while participating in a felony, a Class D felony.
Bevar's attorney, Steve Addington, requested an arrest of judgment regarding the first-degree robbery charge, arguing the charge is defined by permanently depriving one of an item.
"I don't believe there was any intent to permanently deprive of any property," Addington said. "The only property taken were the keys which were found on the third floor landing, because of the lack of permanent deprivation I ... would ask the robbery charge be dropped."
Assistant county attorney Jennifer Bonzer argued that under State of Iowa v. Oldfather "a motion of arrested judgment may not be used to challenge sufficiency of evidence."
"Obviously a hotly contested issue in this case was intent," Bonzer said. "Now the jury found Ms. Bevar had intent to permanently deprive. In addition, a court in this matter overruled the defense motion for judgment of acquittal. I would ask the verdict stand."
District Judge Kurt Wilke denied Addington's motion.
He sentenced Bevar to 25 years in prison for first-degree robbery, of which she must serve at least 17.5 years; two years for assault with intent to inflict serious injury; five years for escape and five years for assault while participating in a felony.
Wilke then ruled that the sentences will run concurrently and consecutively to the five years Bevar is currently serving for previous charges in 2006 of child endangerment,bodily injury and methamphetamine exposure. In addition, a five-year no-contact order between Bevar and the correctional officer who was assaulted was issued.
Bevar tearfully apologized before Wilke issued the sentencing.
"I know saying I'm sorry won't change what I did, and I regret what I did," Bevar said. "I'm terribly sorry for what I've done."
Bonzer said the county was "very pleased" with the outcome in the case.
Watts was sentenced to seven years in prison in a plea deal in May.
Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com