Key lawmakers say the waning hours of the 2013 Iowa legislative session didn’t provide enough time for a thorough review, but they will take a closer look at this week’s high-profile kidnapping case.
A 42-year-old Stratford man who killed himself Monday is the suspect in the kidnapping of two girls from a bus stop in Dayton. The 12-year-old escaped; the search continues for the 15-year-old. Republican Representative Chip Baltimore of Boone — chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — says the perpetrator’s previous criminal record is a concern .
“You know, I’m hearing reports about his sentencing, why he was released and some of the details of the underlying facts of the crimes he committed,” Baltimore says. “But I think it’s worthwhile taking a look at when you’ve got multiple kidnappings and then sentences that are given and then time off for good behavior credits that are given and then reoffending so quickly after being released, it warrants some scrutiny.”
In 1992, Michael Klunder was sentenced to 41 years in prison after striking a plea deal that reduced the charge to third-degree kidnapping. He was released in 2011, after serving nearly 19 years, because he had accumulated time off his sentence for good behavior behind bars. Senator Rob Hogg , a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he’s concerned with ensuring law enforcement has enough money to handle these kind of cases.
“Everybody watches those law enforcement shows in TV and, you know, they always solve the crime in an hour,” Hogg says. “Well, that’s not real life and we need to make sure we’re providing the resources that our law enforcement can do what they need to do.”
That rankles Baltimore.
“Yeah, let’s throw more money at the situation. That would have fixed it,” Baltimore says. “….The real problem is we have a gentleman who admitted to kidnapping three people who got out of prison after 20 years — with no parole, by the way.”
Klunder was living within 1000 feet of a school in Stratford, but his listing on the sex offender registry did not require him to stay out of that school zone since his first kidnapping victim was an adult. Baltimore says concerns about that part of the case are a “red herring” since Klunder went to the neighboring town of Dayton to kidnap the girls.