Three West Liberty Residents Charged In Separate Bar Assaults

By Lee Hermiston

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa -- Three West Liberty residents - including two who live together - have been arrested in two separate bar attacks.

According to Iowa City police criminal complaints, officers responded to Mercy Hospital shortly after midnight Sunday morning for a report of a stabbing that had occurred at Brothers Bar in downtown Iowa City earlier.

The alleged victim told police he got into an argument with Jose Meta Hernandez, 24, of West Liberty. The victim told police when his back was to Hernandez, Hernandez pulled a knife and stabbed the other man in the arm. Hernandez was developed as a suspect after police spoke with witnesses and reviewed video from Brothers Bar. He was located by officers just outside the bar, eating an gyro.

Police said Hernandez admitted to getting into an argument with the victim, but denied stabbing him. A knife with blood on it was found on Hernandez' sister, who was also in the bathroom during the alleged stabbing, police said.

That sister, Abigail Mata, 19, of West Liberty was also arrested Sunday morning, along with 22-year-old Julie A. Rodriguez.

Police said a woman reported she was waiting in line to use the bathroom at Pints Bar in downtown Iowa City when a woman bumped into her and an argument ensued. The woman said a few minutes later, two women hit her with a beer bottle, pushed her to the ground and kicked her. The victim's friend corroborated the victim's account and said the two women attacked her, as well. Both of the alleged victims required medical assistance, police said.

Using witness descriptions, police found Mata and Rodriguez inside the bar. Police said Mata was drunk and uncooperative with police. Rodriguez admitted to getting into a fight and punching another woman in the face a few times.

Rodriguez and Mata both face charges of assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor. Hernandez faces one count of willful injury causing serious injury, a class C felony.
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