Police statements detail violent attack on Wade River Winery employee 2022-04-29 12:00:00


Thomas Geyer Tom Lowe

The promise of a warm spring evening in Davenport’s East Village on Thursday was shattered by a brazen attack and attempted robbery of an employee at the Wide River Winery.

Eric Sergesketter owns a business near the winery, 1128 Mound St. At about 5:30 p.m., he said, one of his workers told him that something was going on at the winery.

They heard a woman screaming and saw her bleeding. Davenport police later identified the woman as a winery worker. According to police investigators, two people attacked the woman – Christopher Laville Mitchell, 35, and Emily Rose Haberling, 20.

Mitchell and Haberling are charged with one count each of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery.

Sergejster saw the end of what police later claimed was a violent attack that featured Mitchell threatening to rape, stabbing and kill the winery’s employee.

“He (the winery employee) managed to escape the attack,” Sergesketer said. “She bled pretty well. There was blood running down her face and neck. By the time she got out, we ran over there and there was already an officer with her.”

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“The good thing about this is that she was able to get out of it. She was still walking and talking and breathing.”

“Our friend showed amazing courage, strength and speed of thought during this attack,” the winery posted on social media. “We support her recovery as much as we know how, and together we are putting together a plan to strengthen security measures and reopen… We are grieving for our employees and our community today.”

Affidavits filed with Corporal Davenport. Bryant Wayland noted that police were dispatched to the scene at 5:35 p.m.

Wayland said Mitchell and Haberling entered the winery and punched the employee in the face. Her head hit the ground and her hair was pulled into the cash register. Mitchell took the money from the stairs.

The violence didn’t end when Mitchell had the money.

According to written accounts, Mitchell and Haberling forced the employee to crawl on her hands and knees and grabbed her by the hair while punching her in the head and hitting her head in the ground.

Mitchell strangled her with both hands and prevented her from breathing at various times. Haberling took the employee’s cell phone and smashed it to the ground, preventing her from calling 911.

Mitchell asked the employee to tell him the location of the winery’s camera and video surveillance system. The employee told police she heard Mitchell tell Haberling that he had given her a knife and said, “If you try to get away, stab her.”

The employee said Haberling and Mitchell moved her around the job as the abuse continued.

Written affidavits said, while Mitchell was checking the surveillance system, Haberling held the employee on the floor. Mitchell came back and said “I’m going to rape you, I’m going to kill you, I’m going to do whatever I want, I have a knife.” Before leaving again, he gave Haberling a knife and told her to stab the employee.

The employee told police that she threw a chair to escape from the winery, followed by Mitchell and Haberling. They pulled her into the building again, but she managed to get away when she heard police sirens near the scene.

Police said Mitchell and Haberling retreated into the winery and were quickly located, but they did not cooperate and resisted arrest. Physical force, including electrocution, was used to make the arrests.

Officers found about $317 in Mitchell’s sweatshirt pocket with some money wrapped in cash rings and consistent with the amount stolen during the burglary. Both suspects refused to identify themselves.

The employee was taken to hospital with injuries that included bruising in both eyes, a cut to her tongue, a fractured left orbital, a broken collarbone, and bleeding and bruising on the right side of her face.

Sergejster said the attack shocked the entire eastern village.

He said, “…this happened in broad daylight and in a nice part of town.” “Everyone was having a nice Thursday night and all of a sudden this happened.”

Both Mitchell – probation in Iowa until 2025 for theft – and Haberling face life sentences, if convicted.

First-degree kidnapping under Iowa law carries a mandatory life sentence, while first-degree burglary carries a 25-year prison sentence – 70% or 17-and-a-half years must be executed before parole is granted.

Haberling was also charged with first-degree theft, which carries a 10-year prison sentence, and misdemeanor obstruction of 911 communications.

They were also charged with the misdemeanour of harassing public officials and interfering with official actions.

Mitchell is on parole until February 28, 2025, according to the electronic records of the Iowa Department of Corrections. The new charges come just about four months after he was released from prison.

On January 22, 2004, Mitchell was sentenced to two years’ probation and two years probation after pleading guilty to three counts of third-degree burglary with one of those occurring on May 5, 2003, and the other two years on October 29. , 2003. He also pleaded guilty to the charge of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

He violated probation and was sentenced to five years in prison for the burglary convictions and two years in prison for the other count. The sentences were to run synchronously.

Released on April 27, 2006.

On May 12, 2006, Davenport Police arrested Mitchell on two counts of first-degree burglary. In both cases, he pleaded guilty to a second-degree burglary charge.

His parole in the previous case was overturned and he was sentenced to prison for thefts.

Mitchell was placed on working release on December 16, and on parole on March 2.

In their requests for a court-appointed attorney, Mitchell listed his address as being in Des Moines, while Haberling did not mention any town.

Both are being held without bond in Scott County Jail.