A Lakeview man sentenced to 33 years in prison after entering a no contest plea to charges he bound a woman with whom he lived with duct tape, then beat, raped and tortured her in May 2016 has filed for post conviction relief.
Fifty-seven-year-old David Gengler claims his lawyer did not explain the consequences of entering a no contest plea. He contends a high sugar content in his blood caused by undiagnosed diabetes left him confused and uncertain of what was taking place in the courtroom Nov. 15 last year, the day the court accepted his plea and sentenced him. Gengler wrote he had been told a high sugar content in the blood can interfere with “a person’s ability to think straight, comprehend and understand.”
Gengler, acting as his own lawyer, has filed a Rule 37 Petition. The petitions typically argue a defendant received ineffective assistance of council at trial.
Gengler’s petition would appear to have been filed well outside the time limit imposed on such requests, but he has listed a number of reasons he missed the deadline. He points to the fact he is acting as his own attorney, the lack of access to a law library until just recently and his lack of understanding of the law.
As is normal procedure, when Gengler entered his no contest plea and was sentenced, Circuit Judge Gordon Webb went through a rather lengthy list of questions before accepting the plea and pronouncing sentence.
Among other things, the judge asked Gengler if he understood what the plea agreement said and the sentence he might be facing. Gengler answered in the affirmative. In his Rule 37 filing, Gengler says he did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted. He wrote he told his lawyer he would never plead guilty to crimes “I did not do.”
Gengler contends if he had known what no contest meant, he would have refused to make the plea before the court. He said he only wanted to go to trial. He said he was still confused about what had happened when he left the courtroom.
Gengler was initially charged with kidnapping and five counts of first-degree battery. Prosecutors then filed the more serious charges of rape and aggravated robbery. They were based on information developed during the investigation that the victim had suffered severe sexual trauma while being held against her will.
The problems for Gengler began when Baxter County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence along Greenwood Avenue in Lakeview May 24, 2016. They reported finding a badly beaten female on the floor near the front door.
Gengler and the then 57-year-old victim were reported to share the residence.
Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said at the time the victim had marks on her wrists and appeared to have been bound for days. She also had numerous other injuries, including what were thought to be cigarette burns.
Investigators reported finding blood splattered on the walls of the house and a large amount of duct tape with hair stuck to it on the bathroom floor. A knife and bloody cigarette butt were also found and taken into evidence.
Gengler who was at the residence when deputies arrived said the victim was bipolar and “falls all the time.” He denied inflicting the victim’s injuries, holding her against her will or having forced sexual relations with her.
When the victim was interview in a Springfield hospital, she told investigators she had been bound for two or three days. She said Gengler had taped her in an upright position and punched, beat and kicked her. The victim said Gengler also choked her and burned her with cigarettes.
According to the victim, her relationship with Gengler began when he moved into her residence in October 2015 to work as a handyman.
Gengler is being held in the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Grimes Unit at Newport.
WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI