CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) - An assistant federal public defender was assaulted while she was jogging in Cedar Rapids Tuesday.
There are no suspects in the attack of Jane Kelly, 39, of Cedar Rapids, police said. Officers called the attack the most serious they can recall on Cedar River Trail, one of the most heavily used in the city's trail system. They also do not know if the attack was random or possibly related to Kelly's work in the criminal justice system.
Kelly's condition was unknown Tuesday night at University Hospitals in Iowa City, where she was transferred after being taken to St. Luke's Hospital.
One of her more recent high-profile clients is Luke Helder, the man accused of placing 18 pipe bombs in mailboxes in five states, including Iowa, in May 2002.
Police were called to the trail around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday after passers-by found Kelly lying on the ground. She was in and out of consciousness and unable to call for help, police said. Investigators are unsure how long she had been there, police Lt. Steve O'Konek said.
The 72-year-old Cedar Rapids woman who found Kelly and called 911 said she and her walking partner passed by the spot where Kelly was attacked before 7 a.m. and saw nothing out of order.
Upon their return, they saw a body lying next to the trail, face down in the grass, "with blood everywhere."
"The person raised their head and said something we couldn't understand. We did not stop or acknowledge them - we couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman - but got up on 29th Street and then I called police on my cell phone."
"She's just a super person, an outstanding attorney, always very well-prepared, very bright," said Judge Michael Melloy, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. "The public defender always gives first-rate representation to criminal defendants, and a lot of the credit for that goes to Jane."
Kelly, a native of Greencastle, Ind., graduated in psychology from Duke University in 1987 and from Harvard Law School in 1991.
She clerked from 1992 to 1993 in Cedar Rapids for David Hansen, a judge for the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then taught for a year at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
In July 1994, she and another attorney opened Iowa's first federal public defender's office in Cedar Rapids. Her job is to defend people charged with federal crimes who are unable to afford an attorney.