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Mason City man loses appeal in domestic abuse conviction

This news story was published on March 23, 2016.
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MASON CITY – A Mason City man who was sent to prison last year for up to 20 years in a felony domestic abuse case and violations of the sex offender registry has lost his appeal.

Jason Billings appealed following his Alford plea to domestic abuse assault impeding breathing or circulation causing bodily injury, with a habitual offender enhancement. He claimed in his appeal that his attorney was ineffective in permitting him to plead guilty to the charges when there was not a factual basis to support the element that he caused a bodily injury.

The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that because a factual basis supports his plea, Billings’s attorney was not ineffective in allowing him to plead guilty to the charge of domestic abuse assault impeding breathing or circulation causing bodily injury. His conviction was upheld.

An emergency call was made to police late in the evening of March 7, 2015, at about 11:28 PM, about a violent domestic disturbance taking place at 32 11th Street NE. Upon arrival, police investigated and arrested Billings. The court’s review of the record indicates that when Billings threw the victim against a wall and grabbed her by the throat, she could not breathe. The victim had red marks on both sides of her neck. Her lip was swollen and painful. This is sufficient to establish he caused a bodily injury, the appeals court ruled.

Mason City police were earlier called to the same address in October of 2014 for a verbal domestic after it was reported that yelling was coming from the residence, where his ex-spouse and children live. Billings left “for the evening”, according to a police report.  Billings claimed he had a conversation with officers before leaving.  He was supposed to be living or staying at a separate location in a south side hotel.

In a plea agreement, Judge Karen Salic sentenced Billings to up to 15 years in prison on the charge of felony domestic abuse assault involving strangulation. He also had earlier pleaded guilty to violating a court-ordered protection five times. The protective order was extended until 2020 in court this week.

Billings was convicted in 1994 in Floyd county at the age of 12 for second degree sexual assault against a male child younger than him.

In court Monday, June 22, Billings was found guilty of violating the terms of his sex offender status and given an additional 5 years in prison, to be served consecutively with the 15 year sentence.


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