CEDAR RAPIDS — A grieving mother struggled Friday to read a victim’s impact statement in court, saying she is angry and heartbroken that her “kind and caring” daughter, who loved her family and her three children, was fatally attacked in her garage by a “monster” on April 29.
“Nobody can express the pain and anguish we have felt,” said Ann Pixler, the mother of Gina Frederiksen, 38, of Cedar Rapids. “The pain and loss is beyond my ability to deal with.”
Her 11-year-old granddaughter, in a statement read by her father, Scott Frederiksen, called her mother’s killer a “creature” who destroyed their lives. She said she couldn’t refer to his name and called him “It.” She wrote, “It doesn’t have a place in this world and shouldn’t have a right to walk on this earth.”
Tim Evans, 39, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Friday.
Evans, who remained somber during the statements, admitted during the plea he used a crowbar to kill Frederiksen in her garage. He also admitted the assault happened during a robbery and that he set fire to the garage — at 1814 I St. SW — to cover up his crime.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Mitchell Turner sentenced Evans to life in prison without parole, the mandatory term for a first-degree murder conviction in Iowa.
Turner noted Fredericksen’s death was a “particularly heinous and brutal” crime.
The judge also told Evans that by pleading guilty and choosing to be immediately sentenced he was giving up his right to appeal the conviction.
Evans said he understood.
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Evans must also pay $150,000 to Frederiksen’s estate and possibly more.
Pleading guilty to first-degree murder is unusual, especially in Iowa, because of the automatic life sentence. Most defendants go to trial or plead to a lesser charge.
Only one other defendant in recent years, Nicholas Luerkens, has done that. Luerkens, 35, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty in June to the April 1, 2015, fatal stabbing of Lynnsey Donald, 29, in the Marion Hy-Vee parking lot. A jury had found him guilty, but, on appeal, he had won a new trial before deciding to plead guilty.
Evans declined to speak during the hearing, but his public defender, David Grinde, said there was no plea agreement because his client wanted to take full responsibility for the crime.
Authorities said after the arrest that Evans’ break-in at Frederiksen’s detached garage was a “random act” but have provided few details of what went on in the garage.
Tom Dague, Frederiksen’s boyfriend who lived with her, said in his victim’s statement he couldn’t imagine what Frederiksen went through, as she was “sexually assaulted,” beaten and then burned in that garage.
Evans seemed confused when Dague made the statement but didn’t speak.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks, after the hearing, said Frederiksen had multiple injuries but that the evidence didn’t support an additional charge of sexual abuse.
Maybanks said the prosecution’s theory is that Evans was rifling through the garage when Frederiksen came in to clean up after a garage sale from the day before, Maybanks said.
Evans, who was homeless and a meth addict, never admitted to police that he went to the garage to steal items from the sale.
But Evans, in detail, had told two witnesses why he went there and what happened, including setting the blaze to try and cover up the assault, Maybanks said. They would have testified at trial.
Frederiksen’s neighbors called 911 after hearing an explosion around 7:30 a.m., according a criminal complaint and police reports.
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Cedar Rapids police Officer Kevin Lukan pulled Frederiksen from the garage and provided emergency medical care, but she died a short time later at the hospital, police said.
Two days before Frederiksen’s death, a judge had released Evans on his own recognizance pending trial on an April 15 burglary charge involving a vehicle.
Evans also was charged with an attempted burglary a few hours before Frederiksen’s death at a home just south of Fredriksen’s home and with the Nov. 5, 2017, second-degree burglary and arson of a houseboat.
Maybanks said those charges, along with the pending initial charges in the murder case — first-degree robbery, first-degree arson and first-degree burglary — will be dismissed.
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