Man Attacked with Sword While Watching Porn
Bret Stieghorst was watching an adult movie with the volume up loud. His downstairs neighbor, James Van Iveren, heard a woman screaming in the movie, but thought a woman was actually being attacked. Instead of calling police, he took matters into his own hands, ran up the stairs and broke down the door, all while brandishing a three-foot long military-style sword.
"He comes in with this three-foot long sword and starts pointing it at me, and going, 'Where is she?'" Stieghorst said.
Van Iveren continued to point the sword at Stieghorst while he searched the apartment to make sure no woman was being held against her will. When Van Iveren did not find anyone else in the apartment, he left.
Van Iveren was charged with criminal trespass while using a dangerous weapon, criminal damage to property while using a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct while using a dangerous weapon, misdemeanors which carry a maximum total penalty of 33 months in jail.
"The fact that he was at least trying to do something good, that's at least good," Stieghorst said.
"I would be happy if someone tried to save me," Kandy Kimball said. "I think he's a good guy. I feel bad for him."
"It's kind of nice that we live in a town where people don't just turn their back and look the other way," David Peterson said. "I don't think he should be charged with three crimes. I would like to see the courts work with him and give the guy a little break."
"It was a woman screaming," Van Iveren said of the Feb. 12 incident. "She was screaming for help."
He grabbed the sword, a family heirloom, bounded up the stairs to the other apartment, kicked in the door and confronted Stieghorst.
"I intended to hold it behind my back and knock. But I froze and instead, what happened happened," Van Iveren said. "Now I feel stupid. This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake."
Van Iveren said that he does not have a telephone, so he could not call police when he heard the calls for help. He said he barely knew Stieghorst.
"It had nothing to do with him," he said. "I didn't even know if he was there. It was the woman. I thought there was a woman."
"I walked in the front room and looked around. When I saw there was no woman, I left," he said. Van Iveren insisted that he never threatened the neighbor with the sword.
"I had the sword extended. But that was all," he said.
Van Iveren will appear in court March 5. Stieghorst said the incident will not deter him from watching pornography, but he'll have to alter his viewing habits.
"I'm just going to watch it with the sound down, or I'll buy myself some decent headphones," he said.
Additional coverage from Newsradio 620 WTMJ-AM
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)