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Violent Minnesota man who beat and confined woman in Clear Lake hotel loses appeal


This news story was published on November 12, 2015.
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MESENBRINK LOST APPEAL BUT MIGHT BE BACK IN COURT

MESENBRINK
LOST APPEAL BUT MIGHT BE BACK IN COURT

DES MOINES – A Minnesota man who came to Clear Lake last spring to meet a woman at a hotel and then allegedly cut her with a knife and confined her against her will has lost an appeal of his conviction that sent him o prison for decades.

Albert Mesenbrink III appealed from his conviction and sentence following guilty pleas to kidnapping in the second degree and willful injury resulting in serious injury. He maintained trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to plead guilty to kidnapping in the second degree without a factual basis to support the plea. He also maintained trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment because the trial court erred in its determination the crime was sexually motivated.

The Iowa Court of Appeals found that Mesenbrink’s confinement of the victim was more than incidental to willful injury causing serious injury, there was a factual basis to support his guilty plea for kidnapping in the second degree, and counsel was not ineffective for allowing him to plead guilty to the charge. However, because there was not a factual basis to support the district court’s judgment the crime was sexually motivated, the court vacated the portion of the sentence that requires him to register as a sex offender and remand for further proceedings in which the state might have an opportunity to establish the crime of kidnapping in the second degree was sexually motivated.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

At approximately 12:03 a.m. on April 20, 2014, S.A. (the victim) visited a local hotel in Clear Lake. She believed she was meeting her former paramour, Nate. For approximately six months, “Nate” had been texting and communicating with S.A. When S.A. arrived at the hotel room with a friend, “Nate” announced he “wasn’t decent” and refused to open the door until the friend left. The friend left, and S.A. entered the dark hotel room. Once she entered the hotel room, S.A. was immediately grabbed by a man—later identified to be Mesenbrink—and held at knife point while he kissed her. Mesenbrink denies he demanded S.A. disrobe but admitted that she did remove her clothing. Mesenbrink then told her to take the rope that was on the dresser and place it around her neck, but S.A. refused. Mesenbrink became upset and then placed the rope around S.A.’s neck. S.A. struggled against him as he punched her in the face and tightened the rope around her neck. S.A. continued to fight against Mesenbrink, including scratching and biting. He told her repeatedly, “I gotta kill you,” and demanded she “shut-up.” At one point she was able to get up, but he pushed her back onto the bed. He then took a pillow from the bed and tried to suffocate S.A. with it. Eventually, he grew tired and stopped. S.A. asked for a drink of water and Mesenbrink got up and brought her a bottle of water from the refrigerator in the room. S.A. told him to take her car and she would not tell the police. Eventually, Mesenbrink asked her where her keys were, and she told them she left them in the car. He pushed S.A. between the bed and the wall, gathered some of his items, and fled the room. Once he left, S.A. ran—still naked—to the front desk. The woman working at the front desk of the hotel called 911. Clear Lake police were dispatched to hotel at 12:36 a.m.

When officers arrived, S.A.’s face was already swollen and bleeding. She had ligature marks around her neck. S.A. was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Officers searched the hotel room and found it was consistent with a struggle. Clumps of S.A.’s hair were found in three different areas of the room. The mattress was partially off the bed, and there was blood smeared on the pillowcases and bed sheets. One of the pillows was also smeared with makeup. Inside the nightstand, officers found a box of condoms and a vibrator. A partial pill of Viagra was found on the bathroom vanity.

On May 21, 2014, Mesenbrink was charged by trial information with kidnapping in the first degree and attempted murder. Mesenbrink initially pled not guilty.

Later, as part of a plea agreement, the State amended the charge to kidnapping in the second degree and willful injury resulting in serious injury. Mesenbrink pled guilty to the amended charges. The district court accepted his guilty pleas on December 22, 2014. For kidnapping in the second degree, Mesenbrink was sentenced to a term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five years. For willful injury causing serious injury, he was sentenced to a term of incarceration not to exceed ten years. The district court ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
Mesenbrink appeals.

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One Response to Violent Minnesota man who beat and confined woman in Clear Lake hotel loses appeal

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    Katie Reply Report comment

    November 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    OMG. That poor woman. He only got 35 years. He could be out way too soon.