COUNCIL BLUFFS — A second man convicted in a 2009 kidnapping case will be eligible for parole, but a prosecutor says the man will not be able to harm anyone by the time he is eligible to be released.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 21 that the first-degree kidnapping conviction against Jeremy Gibler should have been for third-degree kidnapping.
Thursday, Fourth District Court Judge Timothy O'Grady ordered Gibler to serve the 10-year third-degree kidnapping sentence at the same time as a 50-year jail term Gibler already is serving.
In April 2010, a jury found Gibler, 27, and David Maddox Jr., 35, guilty of attempted murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping in a Dec. 17, 2009, attack on Rodney Koehrsen.
First-degree kidnapping is a Class A felony in Iowa and carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
At the trial, Koehrsen recounted the events that led to Maddox and Gibler beating him, going through his pockets and throwing him in the Missouri River. While he was in the water, at least one “bowling ball-sized” rock was thrown at his head, Koehrsen said.
Koehrsen survived the attack. He was able to get out of the river and walk, soaking wet in subzero temperatures, to a gas station for help.
The Court of Appeals found that there was not sufficient evidence to support a finding of a serious injury during the attack, and ruled that the first-degree kidnapping finding must be dropped to third-degree kidnapping.
While Koehrsen could have been seriously injured by the rock and by walking in wet clothes in the cold, he wasn't, the court said.
Gibler's two 25-year prison sentences for attempted murder and first-degree robbery remain in place and are being served one after the other. Those convictions weren't appealed.
Both crimes carry mandatory prison sentences of at least 17½ years before the convicted person is eligible for parole. That would put Gibler in his 60s.
Maddox was similarly resentenced in August 2011.
Chief Deputy Pottawattamie County Attorney Jon Jacobmeier said he was not too concerned that Gibler was able to avoid life in prison without the possibility of parole. “If going from prison to the nursing home is a victory for Mr. Gibler, then good for him,” Jacobmeier said.