Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting woman

CEDAR RAPIDS — A woman said Tuesday during a victim’s impact statement that this wasn’t a “random person that raped me” — it was her best friend and someone she once loved.

In 2016, Payton Reynolds turned violent and started stalking her and breaking into her home, the woman told the judge during his sentencing Tuesday in Linn County District Court. Then, one night she awoke on June 27, to Reynolds standing over her in bed. He started choking her, until she passed out twice.

“I thought he was going to break my neck,” the woman said as she teared up.

She started sobbing and asked him why but she never got that answer. The assault changed her life. She doesn’t think about herself in the same way. She doesn’t laugh anymore. Any joy is clouded by fear and anxiety.

“I wish for a (different) nightmare. I’m living this nightmare of a reality,” the woman said, glancing back at her family, who were also tearing up during her statement.

6th Judicial District Senior Judge Nancy Baumgartner sentenced Reynolds, 31, to 10 years in prison in accordance with the plea agreement. Reynolds previously pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, second-degree burglary, both felonies, and assault domestic abuse — strangulation, an aggravated misdemeanor. The sex abuse and burglary are 10 year sentences and the assault is two years but Baumgartner ran all the sentences concurrently.

“What you did to her was horrendous … unspeakable,” Baumgartner told Reynolds. “You deserve every bit of the sentence. I hope you remember every word and I hope you have remorse.”

Reynolds, during the hearing, admitted he made “mistakes” and hurt people and let them down. He is “taking accountability” for what he did and thinks about it and prays for peace every day. He also told the court the he was going to “embrace rehabilitation” while serving his time.

Reynolds family was also in the courtroom to support him.

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Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte said the reason for the plea agreement was because the victim didn’t want to see Reynolds in prison for the more time.

“As noted in the PSI (presentencing investigation report) this was an extremely violent and egregious act, which could have ended in a murder (the way it escalated).”

Jeremy Elges, Reynolds lawyer, said his client had taken responsibility by pleading guilty and accepting the consequences of a sexual abuse offense.

As part of the sentence, Reynolds will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and serve a special sentence of lifetime parole after being released from prison. Baumgartner also suspended his fines and placed a five year no contact order for the victim.

Baumgartner also allowed Schulte to file a final victim’s restitution with the court in 90 days, which Reynolds will be ordered to pay.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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