SIOUX CITY — A Sioux City man imprisoned since 1984 on a lifetime prison sentence now has the possibility of parole, a judge ruled recently.
According to court documents, William Barbee Jr., 44, requested a review of what he believed was an illegal lifetime sentence for his convictions for first-degree kidnapping, first-degree theft and attempted murder.
Barbee was convicted of kidnapping a woman at knifepoint from the former Laurence's grocery store parking lot on Feb. 8, 1983. Authorities said the 24-year-old woman, who was also robbed and assaulted, was able to escape from Barbee, then 17, in the 5100 block of Talbot Road.
In his request, Barbee argued his sentence was unconstitutional because it was a cruel and unusual punishment.
Woodbury County District Court Judge Steven J. Andreasen ruled Nov. 24 that Barbee's lifetime sentence was unconstitutional and sentenced him to life with the possibility of parole.
According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, Barbee was being held Friday at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.
— Molly Montag