As we discussed in a recent post, there are a number of defenses to homicide charges in Iowa. One of the most powerful defenses - if it fits the facts of the case - is self-defense. Recently a man facing attempted murder charges asserted self-defense in Jefferson County Court and was acquitted by the jury.
The case arose out of a stabbing in Fairfield in September 2015. Police responding to multiple 911 calls found the victim on West Broadway. After a search they located and apprehended the defendant. After police completed their investigation the original charges of assault with use of a weapon was increased to attempted murder.
The defendant admitted he had stabbed the victim, but claimed he acted in self-defense. The jury evidently agreed, taking less than two days to find him not guilty.
In Iowa, the use of reasonable force in self-defense is justified if a reasonable person would believe the use of that force is required to defend themselves from an imminent threat. Reasonable force means only as much force as is necessary to resist the threat. It can include deadly force if a reasonable person would believe deadly force was necessary to avoid injury or death to themselves or another person.
Asserting self-defense in a murder or attempted murder case requires a thorough investigation of the facts, an understanding of the applicable legal standard, and the ability to persuade a jury that the legal standard has been met. Anyone facing assault or murder charges who believes their actions were justified by self-defense would be wise to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: exploreseiowa.com, "Kendall Acquitted Of All Charges," Aug. 17, 2016