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Sanders federal firearms trial continued

Arraignment on state charges scheduled for Monday

A federal judge has approved a defense request to extend pretrial motion deadlines and set a new court date for next month in the case of a rural Sully man charged with federal firearms violations.

Billy Sanders, 40, was arrested Dec. 31 after Jasper County deputies responded to a 911 call regarding a domestic abuse incident. When deputies arrived, according to court documents, Sanders’ wife was discovered to have been beaten.

Further evidence suggested Sanders had discharged a shotgun and a crossbow in her direction inside the home. Both shots were estimated to have struck the wall behind her less than 12 inches from where she had been sitting.

As a result of the incident, Sanders faces state charges of willful injury, a Class D felony; felon in possession of a firearm, a Class D felony; and false imprisonment, a serious misdemeanor. He also faces a “penalty enhancer” of being a habitual offender.

According to online court records, he has an extensive history of felony violations dating back at least 20 years. As a convicted felon, Sanders is not allowed to possess firearms.

He has been charged with a federal offense in that regard, and was previously scheduled to appear in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Iowa at the federal courthouse in Des Moines next Monday. Those plans have since been delayed.

Sanders’ attorney, Robert G. Rehkemper of Des Moines, said he received additional discovery information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday, March 21. He then requested more time to evaluate the evidence he had been presented.

Rehkemper also noted that evidence requested from various law enforcement entities had not yet been produced as he had requested.

“Additional discovery has been requested but has yet to be produced including law enforcement videos from the initial response and 911 calls,” he wrote in his request for a continuance. “Counsel for the government, James McHugh, is in the process of working with the applicable law enforcement agencies to produce the requested discovery.” 

Rehkemper made his request for more time the same day. U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross A. Walters accepted the request and ordered a new trial date be set for April 28. The deadline for pretrial motions, including the deadline to announce a plea agreement, will be April 7.

“The Court finds the ends of justice served by such a continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial,” Walters said in his written order.

Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at

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