GRUNDY CENTER -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of an Ankeny man charged with luring girls to his car during the summer of 2016.
A jury found Jeff Lee Altmayer, 59, guilty of first-degree kidnapping, sex abuse and enticing a minor following a January 2018 trial.
Authorities said he approached two 11-year-old girls while driving through Colfax in August 2016 and asked if they wanted to earn $100 doing lawn work. When one of the girls took him up on his offer, he began groping her until she resisted and fled his vehicle.
Altmayer remained at large until November 2016 when he allegedly approached children in Onawa, and a neighbor followed his vehicle. He was also charged with soliciting children in Dike and a mobile home park in rural Grundy County and suspected in a similar incident in Cedar Falls.
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On appeal, Altmayer argued the jury in the Colfax case shouldn't have heard information about the Onawa incident.
In a ruling handed down Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals sided with the prosecution, which argued the evidence was needed to establish his identity regarding involvement in the Colfax case.
"We find the Onawa evidence was relevant to the legitimate issue of identifying the Colfax offender, clear proof supports the conclusion Altmayer committed similar bad acts in Onawa, and the probative value of the Onawa evidence is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice," the court wrote in its ruling.
He's serving a life sentence for the kidnapping charge in the Colfax case.