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A jealous Iowa husband, who is accused of pushing his wife’s lover off the catwalk of an industrial grain bin and rendering him comatose, made his first court appearance after he was apprehended in Mexico last month.
Construction worker Pedro Ivan Andrade, 37, faces attempted murder charges after allegedly shoving fellow crew member Jose Gutierrez off a catwalk 60 feet above the ground in Hamburg, Iowa last October, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com. The documents allege Andrade attacked Gutierrez because he learned the man was sleeping with his wife.
Mexican authorities and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Andrade in the Yucatán capital of Mérida on Feb. 14, after months of living on the run with his spouse, officials said.
Gutierrez was severely injured in the fall and slipped into a coma following his plunge; no arrests had been made in the immediate aftermath. However, when Gutierrez awoke four days later, he told authorities he was pushed by Andrade, who “recently discovered Jose was having an affair with his wife,” a criminal complaint stated.
Gutierrez claimed that he was working atop a grain elevator alongside Andrade when the man detached his safety harness and shoved him off the catwalk.
“While his back was to Pedro, lowering a piece of equipment, his lines were unhooked, and he was pushed off the grain bin,” the complaint alleged.
Witnesses later told law enforcement that Andrade had claimed his co-worker fell because he was high on cocaine. However, authorities were skeptical of the accusation that drugs were involved.
“I think that was him trying to deflect blame,” deputy sheriff Andrew Wake told Oxygen.com.
Days later, authorities arranged to interview Andrade. However, by the time deputies showed up at his home in Muscatine, Andrade and his wife had already packed their bags and were gone. The 37-year-old reportedly has family in Mexico, law enforcement said.
“We had information pretty early on that that’s the direction we knew he was going,” Wake said.
Following his arrest last month, Andrade was taken to Mexico City, where he was then flown to Houston, Texas and then transported back to Iowa. Fremont County authorities officially took him into custody on Feb. 29. The tradesman was subsequently charged with attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury, and flight to avoid prosecution, according to additional court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
Wake explained that if Gutierrez hadn’t woken up, there would have been little evidence to press charges against Andrade.
“If our victim wouldn’t have woken up, if he would have died, it would have been very hard to prove our case,” Wake said. “We would have just assumed it was an accident.”
Gutierrez has been released from hospital, officials said. Authorities were amazed that the construction worker survived the near-lethal plunge.
“I did not think he was going to make it,” Wake said.
An old pile of corn broke Gutierrez's fall and likely prevented his death, the Fremont County deputy sheriff noted.
“Corn saved his life,” Wake stated. “When he was pushed off the tower, it’s a gravel parking lot, with the big one or two inch chunks of gravel, and he just happened to fall in a small pile of old corn that was removed from the bin and that’s what broke his fall.”
The grain elevator — one of the tallest buildings in the largely rural county — was being ripped down last fall after flood waters damaged it, Wake said.
If found guilty of the charges, Andrade could face 25 years in prison.
Andrade appeared in court on March 2, court documents show. He is currently being held on a $100,000 bond at a Fremont County jail and it is unclear if he has retained legal counsel whom could comment on his behalf.
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