Court upholds Rodney Bean’s convictions
The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld Rodney Lee Bean’s convictions, court documents show, which were released on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Bean had appealed his convictions for involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree theft, neglect of a dependent person, and two counts of dependent adult abuse. Court records show the victim was 79-year-old Joye L. Gentzler, formerly of rural Ainsworth, as reported in The Journal’s Nov. 16, 2011, edition.
A jury convicted Bean of these charges on Sept. 22, 2011. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison during a court hearing on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. The following week Bean filed an appeal and was released after posting a $50,000 appeal bond. Washington County Attorney Larry Brock could not be reached for comment this morning on Bean’s status.
The court documents said Bean contended the court should have granted a motion he filed to not allow any financial dealings Bean had with Gentzler and William Robuck (Gentzler’s brother) prior to Jan. 29, 2007, to be used as evidence during the trial, including the purchase of his farm for less than fair market value. The records argue this evidence showed prejudice and that it violated a three-year statute of limitations.
The ruling said the district court was right allowing this evidence at the trial, which took place in September 2011.
“The evidence Bean obtained the farm from Gentzler and Robuck for less than the fair market value and did not make the payments he was required to make under the real estate contract is not unfairly prejudicial in light of the other evidence presented at the trial, especially the evidence Gentzler died from malnutrition and dehydration and had not received medical treatment for her broken bones while she was in Bean’s care,” the court record said.
Bean had taken Robuck and Gentzler to an appointment with an attorney on March 9, 2004. Gentzler and Robuck signed a power of attorney naming Bean as such. They also named Bean beneficiary if both of them were to die.
The court record said Bean wanted the charge of involuntary manslaughter dismissed because his actions didn’t meet the elements of the statute for involuntary manslaughter. The ruling said the court didn’t believe Bean was convicted of involuntary manslaughter based only on his failure to act, or omissions.
“The evidence shows Bean committed acts likely to cause her death or serious injury to Gentzler and in fact did cause her death,” the court record said.
During the trial, evidence showed Bean took over Gentzler‘s finances and she didn’t have the ability to go to the doctor, provide nourishment for herself, or other needs unless without Bean’s assistance, court documents showed.
“Knowing Gentzler could not survive without his assistance, Bean recklessly neglected to provide her with medical care or with sufficient nutrition to keep her alive,” the court records said.