A woman who spent 23 days in the Hamilton County Jail on an attempted murder charge has won an out of court settlement of $425,000 for what her attorney calls a wrongful arrest.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office on September 13, 2019 issued an arrest warrant for 43-year-old Jennifer Sue Pritchard of Fort Dodge for allegedly driving a vehicle while her boyfriend Jacob Adams shot at a camper in rural Stratford.
The only thing was, Pritchard was not driving the vehicle and was never in Hamilton County at the time. Pritchard was working at the time in Fort Dodge with witnesses and video footage to prove it. A lawsuit was then filed in Hamilton County District Court in June 2021 by Pritchard and her attorney, Jack Bjornstad of Okoboji.
Pritchard argued that the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office had the evidence exonerating her for ten days before she was given a pretrial release from jail and for more than month before the charges were finally dismissed.
The settlement for Pritchard was paid out from Hamilton County’s insurance provider, the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, plus a $3,000 deductible for the insurance claim was paid out of the county’s general fund.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)