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Cedar Rapids Man Arrested For Attempted Murder After Apartment Assault

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- An altercation between two Cedar Rapids neighbors Sunday left one fighting for her life and the other in jail on an attempted murder charge.

Jerome Power, 48, is accused of trying to kill Doris Bevins, 68, inside her apartment at 1211 Fifth Ave. SE, police said. Police found Power inside the apartment and Bevins unconscious on the floor when they busted inside around 11:20 p.m.

Bevins was found with clothing wrapped around her neck, according to court documents. Police have not indicated whether the clothing was used to try to strangle Bevins.

According to a criminal complaint, a person called 911 to report that a phone conversation with Bevins had just ended with Bevins screaming. The first officers to arrive found the door locked and forced their way inside.

Bevins was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition Monday. She was in the intensive care unit and was unable to speak, according to her landlord, Don Houghton, whose cousin tried to visit Bevins.

The cousin was told that Bevins suffered a heart attack, Houghton said.

Power's girlfriend, Mary Meier, said she was with Power in their second-floor unit just before the incident. She said Power left to go to a convenience store and she heard Bevins ask him for help.

"She asked him if he could help her blow up this air mattress," Meier said. "He said, 'When I get back.'"

Meier said she heard a thud about 15 minutes later and saw police on the front lawn when she looked outside.

During the four years they've been neighbors, Meier said she and Power have had a rocky relationship with Bevins.

"One day she loves us, and the next day she hates us," Meier said.

Houghton, the landlord, described Bevins as a "kind-hearted lady," but said she has a mental illness. Bevins and Power had argued in the past, but it had never escalated to physical violence, Houghton said.

"They've had words before,"said Houghton, 72, of Cedar Rapids. "I think she gets upset about him going up and down the stairs, jumping up and down. She might have said something to him. That might have been what set it off."

Online court records show a lengthy criminal record for Power. He has convictions for first-degree robbery and second-degree burglary in 1994 and 1988, respectively. Both of those incidents happened in Black Hawk County.

In 2007, he was convicted of attempted second-degree burglary in Linn County. Just four months ago he was charged with attempted third-degree burglary. He agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of trespassing, according to court records.

Police said Power had a warrant out for his arrest for third-degree theft after he allegedly stole a backpack at Kirkwood Community College in June.

Meier said she doesn't believe Power would assault anyone, especially a woman.

"We have our arguments, but that's in every relationship," Meier said. "I've never known him to be violent like that."

Houghton said the person responsible for hurting Bevins ought to be locked up.

"People like that need to be put away for a long time,"Houghton said. "We don't need that in this neighborhood, or any neighborhood."

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