Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Manchester, IA man gets 35 years for shooting now ex "girlfriend"

MANCHESTER, Iowa -- Robert Krogmann on Monday [December 21] received the maximum penalty for shooting and critically wounding his ex-girlfriend, after the judge said he showed a "continued refusal to take responsibility for his actions."

The 51-year-old was handed a 35-year sentence, after the maximum sentences for attempted murder and willful injury were ordered to be served consecutively. Krogmann was convicted last month in the March 13 shooting of Jean Smith, 49, at her Manchester home.

With minimum-sentencing laws, he likely will stay in jail until he's 75.

Dubuque County District Court Judge Lawrence Fautsch said he based his decision on the recommendation of the prosecution and the pre-sentence investigation. According to a pre-sentence report, Krogmann said he believed Smith was "trying to crucify me." "She's been getting along quite well, considered what they did to me," Krogmann said in the report.

Delaware County Attorney John Bernau argued that in recorded conversations and letters sent after the trial, Krogmann showed contempt for "everyone and everything." Bernau said Krogmann insulted his own children ("My -- expletive deleted -- kids better all be at my sentencing ... because it would just look stupid if they weren't there"), the jury ("The jury doesn't know a -- expletive-deleted -- thing about bipolar disorder"), a jailer ("worthless piece of -- expletive deleted"), and even the mashed potatoes served in the jail ("slop").

Bernau also accused Krogmann of "orchestrating" the large showing of family support in the courtroom.Krogmann's sister, Patty Wessels, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said that wasn't the case. "He's my brother, and I wanted to be here," she said.

During trial, Krogmann claimed that a yearslong battle with bipolar disorder and depression skewed his judgment during the shooting, and he didn't intend to kill Smith.  "I was sick," he said Monday. "I only intended on ending my own life."

Krogmann shot Smith three times, in the stomach, arm and spine. Smith testified that she pleaded for Krogmann to call 911, but he didn't allow it. He finally let her call her mother, who dialed authorities from out-of-state, Smith said.

But during the sentencing, Krogmann said he called 911 and gave her "everything she wanted" after he shot her. "I stayed with her until I was chased away," he said.

Jean Smith said her life will never be the same. Metal plates and screws hold her arm and spine together, and though she may be able to walk again, it would only be with the aid of braces on her legs. "You have already given me a life sentence," she told Krogmann.

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