Stabbing Suspect Makes Initial Appearance

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter


By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cedar Rapids man accused of stabbing a 72-year-old man multiple times this weekend will remain in the Linn County Jail on an $85,000 bond.

Theodore Gathercole, 51, made his initial appearance in front of Judge Marty Hagge Wednesday morning. Gathercole faces charges of attempted murder, first-degree robbery and willful injury.

According to a criminal complaint, Gathercole and the victim, 72-year-old Frederick Rottmiller were neighbors. Police said Gathercole asked Rottmiller for money "for transportation." Rottmiller agreed to give Gathercole a ride, but when they walked to Rottmiller's car, Gathercole attacked the older man.

Investigators said Gathercole removed Rottmiller's wallet before fleeing the scene.

Shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday morning, a passerby found Rottmiller and called police to the intersection of Park Court and Second Avenue SE. Rottmiller was taken to the hospital where he was treated for several stab wounds. Police have said Rottmiller was seriously injured in the robbery, but are not releasing his condition.

Rottermiller was able to positively identify Gathercole as his attacker, police said.

Gathercole stabbed his neighbor in the face, throat and neck, according to the criminal complaint. Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said Tuesday she wasn’t sure if the knife used in the attack had been recovered.

A woman who identified herself as Gathercole’s wife sat through his initial appearance. She stifled tears as she watched him appear on a closed circuit television from the Linn County Jail. After the hearing, she cried openly while being comforted by another woman.

Gathercole’s wife declined to speak about her husband’s arrest.

He will be represented by the public defender’s office. His initial appearance has been set for June 28.
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