SAC CITY, Iowa | A Sac County jury on Friday found an Ida Grove, Iowa, man guilty of assault, rather than attempted murder, for hitting another man with his car.
Jeremy Werneburg, 37, was found guilty of simple assault, a simple misdemeanor, after jurors spent more than three hours deliberating.
Werneburg had been charged in Sac County District Court with attempted murder, a felony carrying a 25-year prison sentence. Simple assault is punishable by 30 days in jail, and Werneburg likely will be given credit for the more than 30 days he's spent in jail since his February arrest.
He remained in custody Friday because of a pending second-degree criminal mischief charge filed after he caused damage to the Sac County Jail.
Werneburg struck Kyle Freese, of Glidden, Iowa, with his car Feb. 14 outside the Carnarvon Inn in Carnarvon, Iowa. After threatening a group of people, Werneburg got into his car and struck Freese, who was pinned against the building. Werneburg failed in a second attempt to hit Freese after he moved behind another vehicle for protection. Freese lost a portion of his leg and has had at least 10 surgeries since the incident, Sac Count Attorney Ben Smith said.
Smith said he was disappointed with the verdict, but knew that it was going to be hard to prove Werneburg had the specific attempt to kill Freese.
"I thought it deserved the consideration of the jury," Smith said of the case.
Werneburg was arrested three days after the incident in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He faces a 30-day jail sentence there after pleading guilty earlier to a misdemeanor charge of interference with official acts causing bodily injury for his actions while being arrested.