Woman says man charged in Cedar Rapids murder nearly killed her in 2020

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A Marion woman is speaking out after the man she says almost killed her in 2020 is being charged in the murder of a 22-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Police found Emily Leonard earlier this month with what they called ‘obvious head injuries’ inside the home of Arthur Flowers on the southeast side.

Brook Bruce of Marion remembers vividly the early morning hours of the day she says Flowers choked her until she could not breathe.

“He called me in the middle of the night asking for a ride,” Bruce explained.

”We came back to his house, he kept me trapped in his house from 1 o’clock until 7 a.m. wouldn’t give me my phone. After he punched me and almost strangled me to death until I stopped breathing, he wanted me to do sexual deeds. I did not want to do that, I tried leaving. He wouldn’t let me leave,” she added.

When Flowers eventually let her leave, she says she went straight to police. Flowers pled guilty to harassment in the case and spent 10 days in jail for the crime. Meanwhile, his assault charge was dismissed.

“I was upset, because he didn’t get what he deserved. He needed to go to prison for it,” said Bruce.

She was not the first woman to report Flowers for violent behavior. Nine months earlier, he was accused of threatening a woman at his home with a knife. He pled guilty in that incident and was sentenced to 7 days in jail.

That case and Bruce’s case were considered misdemeanors per state law, which meant little time in jail.

”We’re limited on what we can do with misdemeanor offenses. The maximum penalty we can get for a misdemeanor case would be about 2 years and if there’s any credit served it ends up being less than a year we can even get for any misdemeanor offense,” explained Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks.

The Linn County Attorney’s Office files roughly 4,000 cases a year.

“I know it can be confusing sometimes for the public to see after you know certain events take place why somebody got a sentence. But I can assure the public that we do prioritize violent crime and we do everything that we can within the law to make sure that we protect people,” Maybanks said.

Flowers faces a felony first degree murder charge in Emily Leonard’s death. Her father John Leonard told TV9 he knows Flowers and didn’t want his daughter in his home.

”I know different women that had been injured over there I told Emily don’t ever go around the guy alone. I told her time and time again, never be over there by yourself. I think there’s more to it,” he said.

John hopes for justice in his daughter’s case, it’s something Bruce wants as well.

“I hope he goes to prison for what he’s done,” she told us.

If Flowers is convicted of First Degree Murder in Emily’s death he will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance at parole.

22-year-old Emily Leonard.
22-year-old Emily Leonard.(Courtesy of Diana Hogan.)

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