Public Safety

Iowa City man pleads to lesser charge in deadly assault of father

Sentenced to 25 years in prison

IOWA CITY — The sisters of an Iowa City man, who was assaulted by his son and later died in 2017, said Tuesday they were devastated by losing their brother and have told their nephew to take advantage of treatment while in prison.

Flannery H. Kennedy-Meier, 31, of Iowa City, pleaded guilty in Johnson County District Court to attempted murder and was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison.

He was originally charged with first-degree murder and willful injury causing serious injury.

During the plea hearing, Kennedy-Meier admitted he assaulted his father, Mark A. Meier, 63, without justification and with the intent to cause his death.

Kennedy-Meier has been in jail pending trial since 2017, and his appearance has changed since his arrest. He now has longer hair and a bushy beard.

Police said the assault happened around 4:48 p.m. Nov. 13 at 1129 Hotz Ave., where Kennedy-Meier lived when Kennedy-Meier hit his father in the head with a weapon.

Meier suffered a skull fracture and brain bleed and died Dec. 4 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, police said.

Lisa Shippey, Mark Meier’s sister, said in a statement — read at the hearing by Assistant Johnson County Attorney Jude Pannell — that her brother kept his problems with his son to himself, and that the fatal assault was “devastatingly shocking.” She hoped her brother wasn’t in pain when he died.

“You chose to take drugs,” Shippey told Kennedy-Meier. “I am lost and sad and will always miss him.”

Mark Meier’s other sister, Christine Janes, in a statement read by Pannell, said Meier was a wonderful brother who “loved you so much.” She remembered sitting in the hospital with him and remembered the day he died.

She asked Kennedy-Meier to take advantage of the professional help and training he will receive in prison.

John Bruzek, Kennedy-Meier’s lawyer, said during the hearing that incidnet was “tragic” and “substance-abuse driven.”

Pannell, the prosectuor, also pointed out Kennedy-Meier had psychological and substance abuse issues.

He said this was a difficult case because the family lost two people in this “tragedy.”

Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever told Kennedy-Meier he will have to serve 17-1/2 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The sentence will provide rehabilitation for the defendant and provide protection to the community, he said.

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Courts online shows Kennedy-Meier has previous drug convictions in both Johnson and Washington counties.

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

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