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Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)

April 9, 1997 

Author: Kathleen Sweeney

Testimony: Officers’ testimony about interrogation termed ‘hearsay’ by defense.    Frederick William Lewis appeared calm and alert when police interviewed him at a Waterloo, Iowa, hospital about the abduction of a Dubuque woman, area police officers testified Tuesday.

District Court Judge K.D. Brinker heard from detectives and a Dubuque sheriff’s deputy about their conversations and recollection of the day Lewis was arrested, testimony that his defense attorneys argued should be kept out of the trial.   Lewis, 44, of Waterloo, is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and stabbing a 46-year-old Dubuque woman.

Defense attorneys Paul Kaufmann and Jayne Schambow filed a motion last month saying testimony from police officers is hearsay and should be excluded from state’s evidence because it’s prejudicial, court documents said.   Brinker told the attorneys to submit final arguments about why the testimony should or should not be allowed as evidence and to file the arguments by Monday. He could make a decision Tuesday on admitting the evidence.   Dennis Avenarius, a Dubuque deputy sheriff who conducted the interview in the psychiatric ward at Waterloo’s Covenant Medical Center, said he and Detective Tom Fessler first went to Lewis’ home on Oct. 18 to interview his wife, Gwen.

Gwen Lewis told police she had taken her husband to the hospital a few days before because his depression medication wasn’t working. Frederick Lewis later admitted himself at Covenant.

Steve Nemmers, a Waterloo detective who assisted Dubuque police in getting the warrant, said Gwen Lewis also said her husband came home from Dubuque on Oct. 13 wearing a long-sleeved shirt that was splattered with “a considerable amount of blood.”

After speaking with Gwen Lewis, police obtained a search warrant to look through the house and his vehicle for the shirt, a pair of blue jeans, a pocket knife, and any other evidence connecting him to the abduction. They also received a warrant to search Lewis.

At the hospital, Lewis waived his Miranda rights and readily answered questions, Avenarius said. “He answered all of them,” he said.  The officers said Lewis didn’t act confused or surprised when they told him why they were at the hospital.

When police asked Lewis if he was involved with the abduction of a Dubuque woman, he wouldn’t admit nor deny the accusation, Nemmers said.  Lewis repeatedly said he didn’t remember the incident. Lewis then said, ‘”Somebody who would do that would be rude, and I don’t think I’m rude,'” Nemmers testified.

Kaufmann and Schambow asked the officers if they knew Lewis was taking three or four different medications when they interviewed him.   The officers said they didn’t know he was on medication during the interview, but he answered their questions and seemed alert.   “He was acting as if we were boring him,” Fessler said. Lewis was yawning, slouching in his chair and stretching his arms.

The trial, which had been scheduled to begin April 16 in Buchanan County, has been continued. A new trial date has not been set.

Record Number: 1997099041
Copyright (c) 1997 Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)