Exline sentencing delayed

Motion for new trial to be heard

The sentencing of James Exline, who was found guilty June 7 of sex abuse against his 12-year-old daughter, has been delayed from the Aug. 6 date set in Greene County district court.

Exline could face up to 75 years in prison after a Bremer County jury found him guilty of sex abuse- second degree and sex abuse- third degree. Sentencing was to be Aug. 6.

On July 20 Exline’s court appointed attorney filed a motion to arrest judgment and hold a new trial. Rather than the sentencing, that motion will be heard at a hearing Monday at 10:30 am in the district courtroom.

The motion requests sentencing be postponed on the basis that no legal judgment can be made because the entire trial record does not support the jury’s finding of guilt.

The attorney claims the court was incorrect in allowing testimony given by witnesses about things the victim, Paige Exline, had told them about her father’s actions. Paige and a cousin were killed in a house fire in Guthrie Center May 15, 2017. Paige’s stepbrother, Patrick Ryan Thompson, has been charged with first degree murder in connection with their deaths.

Also, testimony regarding juvenile court action to designate Paige as a child in need of assistance (CINA) should not have been admitted, the attorney argues. The testimony was irrelevant to the charges; any possible value was outweighed by the possibility of it creating unfair prejudice and confusion on the part of the jury; and the defense was not informed prior to the trial that the DHS social worker would be called as a witness, according to the attorney.

The case is being prosecuted by the state attorney general’s office and Greene County assistant attorney Thomas Laehn.

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