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Dustin Jefferson enters Alford Plea to attempt to commit sexual abuse

Serving Life Term in Wife’s Death

February 9, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Dustin Jerome Jefferson, 41, entered an Alford plea to a charge of assault with intent tto commit sexual abuse in Tama County District Court in Toledo on Thursday, Feb. 1. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt but recognizes the prosecution likely has enough evidence to obtain a conviction in court.

Jefferson is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of 1st degree murder by aiding and abetting in the death of his wife, Kerry Lea O'Clair Jefferson.

A two year prison term and $625 fine were handed down by Judge Ian K. Thornhill in the abuse case on Thursday.

Article Photos

Dustin Jerome Jefferson
-News-Herald file

Jefferson originally was charged with five counts of 3rd degree sexual abuse alleging he had intercourse with a then 12-year-old girl on the Meskwaki Settlement. The charges were filed on Oct. 9, 2013, by Tama County Sheriff's Detective Bruce Rhoads.

Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren said in relation to the sexual abuse charges: "The age of the case was the main factor. The parties sought to continue the trial until after the appeal of the 1st degree murder conviction in State of Iowa vs. Dustin Jerome Jefferson is resolved at the appellate level. The court was not willing to grant yet another continuance. Balancing the potential life sentence for the defendant in the murder case and the potential undue hardship facing the victim in the form of emotional trauma due to testifying; the plea agreement was the best disposition under all the circumstances."

A Jasper County Jury had found Jefferson guilty on the murder - aiding and abetting charge following trial on Feb. 9, 2016.

Two previous trials of Dustin Jefferson ended in mis-trials under defense objection the make up of the jury was not representative of Native Americans.

Dustin Jefferson is identified as a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe according to the court records.

His mother, Ginger Lea Jefferson, 60, is also serving a life term for 1st degree murder in her daughter-in-law's stabbing death which occurred at a residence in Tama on Sept. 25, 2013.



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