Herr accepts plea deal, trial will not happen

Sigourney, Iowa- The trial of Donnie Herr had been set to begin this week, on one charge of second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony, which carries a penalty of 25 years in prison. A hearing on outstanding motions had been set to be held on Friday afternoon, October 12. By all indications, trial appeared to be a go heading into the motions hearing. However, at the start of Friday’s motions hearing, it was announced that Herr had accepted a plea deal offered to him by state prosecutors, and that the trial will no longer happen.

Court records indicate that Herr has entered an Alford plea to one count of first-degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail. In an Alford plea, a defendant is allowed to plead guilty, however the defendant maintains their innocence, but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to be convicted on the charge they are pleading to.

Pursuant to the plea deal, Herr will be sentenced to 365 days in jail, however all jail time will be suspended, meaning that he will serve no jail time. Herr will, however, be placed on probation for one year, with a condition of probation being that he have no further violations of the law. All fines will also be suspended, meaning that while they are assessed against him, Herr will not have to pay the fines. Herr will, however, have to pay restitution, which the plea agreement states will be determined at a later time. A no-contact order between Herr and the victim will also go into effect at sentencing. In addition, the charge of second-degree sexual abuse will be dropped.

Sentencing for Herr has been set for November 9 at 1 pm. 

For more on this story and others, catch the October 17 editon of the News-Review.