Public Safety

Man who stabbed woman and her friend in hospital parking ramp sentenced to 5 years

CEDAR RAPIDS — A woman who was attacked in a hospital parking ramp last year by a man she said was stalking her told a judge during the man’s sentencing Wednesday that she still fears people and feels everyone is dangerous.

Dorcus Luntawudila, in a victim impact statement, said she still has stress and experiences panic attacks from her confrontation Aug. 22 with Amstrong Massamba, who threatened her and her unborn child with a knife, then stabbed her friend as he tried to prevent the assault.

Luntawudila, in the statement read by a victim/witness coordinator with the Linn County Attorney’s Office, said Massamba was “determined to kill me” and told her he would do so when he gets out of prison. She has been forced to move out of her home and to “different cities” because he broke into her home before the attack and stole money and jewelry from her.

Massamba, 26, a legal U.S. resident originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, pleaded guilty in February to willful injury causing bodily injury and going armed with intent. A criminal complaint showed he threatened and lunged at Luntawudila, who was eight months pregnant, wielding a knife at her stomach during the attack outside UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital. He then assaulted her friend, Rufus Voka, who intervened to protect her.

The sentencing was held by phone conference in Linn County District Court because Massamba waived his right to an in-person proceeding, as the Iowa Supreme Court has allowed during the pandemic. The proceeding was interpreted in French for Massamba.

A criminal complaint showed Luntawudila told police Massamba had been stalking her and showed up at her apartment Aug. 20, two days before the knife attack, and took her apartment key.

Police said Luntawudila reported that he had been following her that day, and she thought he was going to try to kill her. When officers responded, they found Massamba in her apartment. Officers retrieved the key he had taken and told him to leave. The apartment manager then changed Luntawudila’s locks.

Voka, in his statement read by the coordinator, said he also has been fearful of people since he was stabbed in the arm that day. He hasn’t wanted to be physically close to anyone in fear this might happen again.

He had to go through three arm surgeries and still has pain and limitations, which may be permanent. He also had two broken teeth, and the “scars on my skin” continue to remind him of the assault.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte, arguing for prison time, said Massamba was prepared for the assault with a knife that had a blade 12 to 14 inches long. Not only did he attack Luntawudila, who had a cut to her right foot and left hand, but he also turned the knife on Voka, who was trying to protect her.

Several witnesses saw the attack and heard Luntawudila screaming for help, Schulte noted. The only “reasonable and safe” sentence for the victims and the community would be to run both five-year terms consecutively for 10 years in prison, Schulte said.

Cory Goldensoph, Massamba’s lawyer, asked the court for a suspended sentence and probation. He admitted the facts of the case were “not great,” but said Massamba had a “great deal of emotions” in this situation. He thought he was in a relationship with this woman, which didn’t go well, and he “regrets” it.

Massamba has no criminal history and has had a solid work history since he came to the United States and even before that in his home country, Goldensoph said.

Massamba declined to make a statement.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson noted the violent nature of the offenses and Massamba’s lack of remorse during a presentencing interview and during the sentencing after Massamba wanted to rebut what Luntawudila said in her statement. He sentenced him to five years on each conviction but ran the terms concurrently for a total of five years.

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

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