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May trial for Hiawatha man accused of killing mom He's accused of shoving rotten apple down her throat

CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge on Friday reset the trial to May 7 for a Hiawatha man charged with killing his mother by shoving a rotten apple down her throat.

Joseph Hubbard, 32, is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree arson, third-degree burglary and assault causing bodily injury in the death of his mother, Deborah Roman, 56.

His trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 16 in Linn County District Court but was continued to allow more time for evaluations and pretrial work.

In a brief hearing Friday, 6th Judicial District Judge Mary Chicchelly told Hubbard she was resetting the trial after discussing it with his lawyers and the prosecutors.

The prosecution previously asked the court to send Hubbard to Iowa Medical and Classification Center for a psychological evaluation, which the court granted. It is unclear whether that has been completed.

Hubbard will claim diminished responsibility/insanity and self-defense, and he has been evaluated by a defense expert, who will testify at trial.

Hubbard was arrested after police found him naked in the 700 block of North Center Point Road on Dec. 2, 2016, and attempting to get into several vehicles before .\ getting into a construction van, according to court documents.

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Hiawatha officers said Hubbard “appeared to be in an altered state of mind.” Hubbard told officers he had found his mother dead that morning.

Officers took him to a hospital for examination, and he confessed that he killed his mother by shoving a rotten apple down her throat.

Police went to Roman’s mobile home at 213 Sunset Lane and found Roman’s body inside.

During an autopsy, a state medical examiner found large chunks of apple in Roman’s throat and ruled she died from asphyxiation, the complaint shows.

Hubbard, before police found him at the construction van, had forced his way into a storage shed of the nearby New Beginnings Church, took off his clothes and soaked them with gasoline, the complaint shows.

Hubbard also is charged with assaulting a man named Steven Behrens before getting into the van.

Hubbard remains in jail under a $1 million bail.

If convicted on all charges, Hubbard faces up to 66 years in prison.

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

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