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FD man sentenced in burglary, kidnapping

Drayton will serve up to 5 years in prison

The Fort Dodge man accused of burglary and kidnapping a woman at knifepoint in May has been sentenced to up to five years in prison through a plea agreement.

Through the agreement, Leon Drayton Sr., 34, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, domestic abuse assault while using or displaying a dangerous weapon and first-degree harassment, all aggravated or serious misdemeanors. He will serve up to five years for the charges at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (Oakdale) in Coralville. He was also fined a collective $1,800 for the three charges, in addition to restitution to be determined.

The false imprisonment charge garnered an indeterminate sentence of up to one year in prison; the other two charges garnered up to two years. Each sentence will run consecutively.

Initial criminal complaints alleged that Drayton kicked in the front door of a home in the 300 block of Avenue M West on May 9 and punched the victim in the face multiple times. Using a pocket knife and pulling her hair, police said he forced her into his vehicle before driving west of Fort Dodge. While speeding away, he allegedly held the knife to her throat the entire time, threatening to kill her and her child.

Criminal complaints said the victim sustained a broken nose, cracked lip and facial bruising from the assault. The uninjured child, 8, told police she hid in the closet as Drayton assaulted her mother. She was eventually forced into the car with her mother.

Drayton initially had seven charges:

nFirst-degree burglary, a class B felony.

n False imprisonment, a serious misdemeanor.

n Second-degree kidnapping — armed with a dangerous weapon, a class B felony.

n Willful injury — causing serious injury, a class C felony.

n Domestic abuse assault while displaying or using a weapon, first offense, an aggravated misdemeanor.

n Assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor.

n First-degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor.

“With the criminal justice system, plea agreements are a necessary evil,” said First Assistant County Attorney Ryan Baldridge in a statement from the Webster County Attorney’s Office. “There are many scholarly sources that explain the ‘cycle of violence’ and how the thought processes of witnesses and/or survivors might guide the decisions and actions of those individuals as a criminal case progresses.”

In cases of domestic abuse and violence, witnesses can become uncooperative over time for a variety of reasons, Baldridge said, limiting the state’s ability to prosecute as prosecutors decide between forcing an uncooperative witness to testify at trial and proving the case without the witness.

“By utilizing plea agreements in these situations, the state is assured the defendant faces a period of confinement or supervision to ensure the public’s safety and that he will be provided some degree of rehabilitative services while so confined or supervised,” Baldridge said.

Part of making plea agreements can include amending a domestic abuse assault — third offense or subsequent charge to a “first offense” charge to facilitate an agreement, Baldridge said. Drayton was previously convicted of domestic abuse assault in 2006, 2008 and 2015.

To convict someone of a third or subsequent domestic abuse assault charge, the first two convictions must have occurred within 12 years of the third or subsequent offense.

“While decisions of this nature are ultimately left to the discretion of the State of Iowa and are made with an intimate understanding of the evidence to be admitted at trial, our office always considers the wishes of survivors in making determinations,” Baldridge said.

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