Man's good intentions die by the sword
OCONOMOWOC, Wis. - A man said he broke into an apartment with a cavalry sword because he thought he heard a woman being raped, but the sound actually was from a pornographic movie his upstairs neighbor was watching.
“Now I feel stupid,” said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. “This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake.”
According to a criminal complaint, the neighbor told police that Van Iveren pounded on the door and kicked it open without warning Feb. 12, damaging the frame and lock.
“Where is she?” Van Iveren demanded, thrusting the sword at the neighbor, the complaint said. “Where is she?”
The neighbor told police Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The complaint said that, with the sword pointed at him, the neighbor led Van Iveren throughout the apartment, opening closet doors to prove he was alone.
The neighbor later played for police the part of the DVD he believed Van Iveren heard downstairs.
Van Iveren, 39, of Oconomowoc, was charged with criminal trespass, criminal damage and disorderly conduct, all while using a dangerous weapon, and is due in court March 5. Together, the misdemeanor counts carry a maximum sentence of 33 months in jail.
Van Iveren said Tuesday that he heard a woman “screaming for help,” grabbed the sword, bounded up the stairs, kicked in the apartment door and confronted the man who lived there.
“I intended to hold it behind my back and knock. But I froze and instead, what happened happened,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Contesting his neighbor’s account, Van Iveren said he didn’t look anywhere in the apartment except the front room, and that he never threatened the neighbor with the sword.
“I had the sword extended. But that was all,” he said.
Van Iveren, who lives with his mother in the downstairs apartment, said he did not call police when he heard the noises because he does not have a telephone. He said he barely knew the upstairs tenant.
Police seized Van Iveren’s sword, which he said was a family heirloom.