No trial set for Rodney Bean
Rodney Lee “Joe” Bean, 52, of Ainsworth, appealed his conviction and 17-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter a year ago this month, but a date for an appeal hearing has not yet been set.
Bean was found guilty of theft and dependent adult abuse against 79-year-old Joye L. Gentzler, formerly of rural Ainsworth. Gentzler was living with Bean and his wife, Lori, at the time of her death Feb. 27, 2008.
Davis Foster, Bean’s attorney, said an appeal can take a year to 18 months after the initial trial.
Foster filed a motion for a new trial in October 2011 after Bean’s trial was held in Keokuk County. The crime was committed in Washington County but the defense sought and obtained a change of venue for the trial.
Foster argued that District Court Judge Joel Yates ruled incorrectly by not granting his motion for a new trial. Yates made his ruling immediately prior to the sentencing hearing in November 2011.
In his brief for a new trial, Foster argued that the court made two errors during Bean’s trial, specifically that it erred in allowing the jury to consider the charge of involuntary manslaughter and that it erred in allowing the jury to consider inadmissible evidence of prior bad acts.
Foster wrote that the involuntary manslaughter charge is satisfied either through an affirmative act or through omission of an act that the law requires one to do. The state accused Bean of failing to adequately care for Gentzler, but Foster wrote that Bean was not legally required to do this. Foster pointed to the court’s decision to dismiss Count 6, which was nonsupport of a dependent adult.
“As the court recognized in its dismissal of Count 6, Defendant had no legal duty to support Joye Gentzler, and thus support of Joye Gentzler is not an ‘act which the law requires one to perform,’” Foster wrote.
The other error Foster believes the court committed was allowing evidence regarding acts prior to January 2007. He wrote that the statute of limitations on any criminal acts had expired prior to January 2007. He wrote that evidence of those earlier acts was prejudicial to Bean and that therefore Bean should receive a new trial.
“Defendant moved prior to trial that the theft charge alleging that the Defendant had stolen all of the farm payments, and/or that the contract price of the farm was a theft, should be dismissed,” he wrote. “The Court denied the Motion, but at the conclusion of the evidence did dismiss the charge. Failing to dismiss the charge prior to trial resulted in the improper evidence being presented to the jury.”
According to the affidavit of Washington County Deputy Eric Holsapple, he discovered that Gentzler had sold property to Rodney Bean in 2002, and had given him power of attorney in 2004. The purchase price of the property was $21,000 and the value at the time was approximately $80,000.