MANCHESTER, Iowa - A 34-year-old Manchester man accused of attempting to murder his father by cutting out his pacemaker in 2009 pleaded guilty Monday in Delaware County District Court.
Jesse Fierstine, originally charged with attempted murder and willful injury, pleaded guilty to willful injury, going armed with intent and two counts of assault causing serious injury. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing will be set later.
Mike Lahammer, Fierstine’s attorney, said he and co-counsel Frank Santiago had been working on terms for a plea deal with Delaware County Attorney John Bernau for about two months, but the three just reached an agreement today during a status conference. The trial was set to begin June 8.
“The plea wasn’t planned,” Lahammer siad. “This was just supposed to be a status conference because the judge couldn’t be at a pre-trial, but we worked it out. He (Fierstine) and his family are satisfied with the plea agreement.”
Lahammer said 1st District Judge Monica Ackley spent a lot of time going over the plea with Fierstine and making sure he understood his rights to a trial.
Fierstine’s relatives told The Gazette after his arrest that he hadn’t been taking his bipolar disorder medication at the time.
Lahammer said he would argue for concurrent terms and possibly a deferred judgment and probation. Fierstine is eligible because he didn’t plead to a forcible felony and because of lack of criminal history.