CEDAR RAPIDS — A Linn County jury on Friday found a Cedar Rapids man guilty of burglary and of severely beating his estranged wife in January.
The jury deliberated about five hours, following four days of trial for Nathan Brocks, 38, who was convicted of first-degree burglary, third-degree kidnapping, assault causing bodily injury (domestic assault) and obstruction of emergency communications.
Brocks was charged as a habitual felon and faces up to 55 years in prison because of enhancement penalties.
Evidence at trial showed the couple hadn’t been together for at least two years before Brocks showed up at the woman’s apartment Jan. 6.
She had been out with friends, and Brocks was waiting for her. He had broken the sliding glass door of her apartment — in northeast Cedar Rapids in a complex off Blairs Ferry Road — and gone inside, rifling through drawers and knocking over furniture, before she arrived.
The 28-year-old woman testified that Brocks came up to her vehicle before she got out and started punching her in the face. He hit her about 15 times, grabbed her and pulled her out of the vehicle, causing her to fall to the ground, where he kicked her in the face, she said.
Testimony showed Brocks then dragged her by her hair through the broken glass from the door and continued to beat her for about three hours. The woman was in and out of consciousness and said she did not know exactly how long the beating lasted.
The woman had two black eyes, a shattered nose, swollen and bruised cheekbones and jaw, a concussion, bruising on her neck and scratches on her back, according to testimony.
The woman said Brocks wouldn’t let her go and wouldn’t leave the apartment, threatening to kill her the entire time.
At some point, she got away from him and remembered there was can of “bear mace” on top of her refrigerator that a friend had given her because he was worried about Brocks harming her.
She ran out of the apartment, screaming for help and knocking on doors of other tenants, but nobody answered, according to testimony.
When Brocks realized nobody heard her, he “charged” her and she sprayed him with the mace — using half the can.
The woman made it outside, where neighbors found her lying in the parking lot and called 911.
When police arrived, Brocks was in the apartment and wouldn’t let them inside, testimony showed. A standoff result that ended after police threatened to release a K-9 dog inside. .
Brocks testified he found the woman smoking methamphetamine that morning and said she was injured when he reacted and “slung” her into a dumpster outside the apartment. He also said the woman broke the sliding glass door before he got there.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said Brocks had written two letters from jail to the woman, asking her to not go to court and that he would leave town. The letters, Maybanks said, violated a no-contact order.
“Domestic abuse can lead to deadly results,” Maybanks said after the verdict. “This was a terrifying experience for this victim. She barely escaped with her life. She showed great courage to testify.”
Maybanks also thanked jury members for their attention and service this week.
Brocks is being held without bond in the Linn County Jail awaiting sentencing.
Court records show Brocks was convicted in 2016 for domestic assault against his estranged wife and had just gotten out of prison Jan. 3, three days before he attacked her, which the jury wasn’t allowed to know.
All of his previous domestic assault convictions involved the same woman.
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