Le Mars, Iowa — An Akron man who is accused of killing his mother in June, 2014 has pled guilty in a plea agreement.
Forty-six-year-old Jonathan Neunaber was charged with First Degree Murder, which is a class “A” felony, punishable by a mandatory life sentence without parole. In a plea agreement accepted by the court on Monday, February 29th, 2016, Neunabor pled guilty to Second Degree Murder, a class “B” felony; and Willful Injury, a class “C” felony.
In the agreement, Neunaber agreed to be sentenced to a term not to exceed fifty years for the murder charge and a term not to exceed ten years on the willful injury charge for a consecutive term not to exceed sixty years in prison.
Judge Steven Andreasen noted that seventy percent of the sentence — or 35 years — would need to be served before Neunaber would be eligible for work release or parole. In the plea agreement, Neunabor would also have to pay victim restitution in the amount of $150,000 in regard to the murder charge as well as other costs and expenses.
Neunabor’s legal team had raised possible defenses of insanity and diminished responsibility and a motion to suppress evidence, but under the terms of the plea agreement, these would be dropped.
When he told the judge about the case at the hearing, Neunabor said that when his father died, he was not prepared to be the man of the house and be responsible for several things. He said after he killed his mother he took some pills with the intent that they’d all be buried together. But he said that didn’t work. He also admitted that he used a steel pipe to strike his mother and that, “I struck my mother more times than I’d like to.”
The judge had ruled in January that Neunaber was competent to stand trial.
The bodies of both of Neunaber’s parents were discovered in their rural Akron home in July, 2014. Autopsy results showed that his father, 83-year old Donald Neunaber, had died of natural causes, but that his mother, 80-year old Esther Neunaber died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Jonathon Neunaber was arrested the next day after being stopped for a traffic violation in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
No sentencing date has been set.