Defendant testifies in Mason City kidnapping, sexual assault trial

MASON CITY — The Mason City man on trial for kidnapping and sexual abuse took the stand in his own defense on Thursday afternoon.

24-year-old Moises Erreguin-Labra is charged with first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault, as well as assault causing bodily injury. He’s accused of locking a female in a room in a home in the 400 block of 1st Southwest for at least five days in early June 2022, not allowing her to leave, and subjecting her to sexual abuse or torture.

Testifying with the use of interpreters, Erreguin-Labra says he welcomed the female into his home after going out to dinner with her, and then going to a nearby hotel before deciding to go back to his house.  He was asked by his attorney Rich Tompkins, “Did you ever have the specific intent to just hold her and keep her in your bedroom from June 4th to June 9th.” Erreguin-Labra replied, “No…I accepted her in my home because she told me she didn’t have a place to sleep and that she had a fight with a friend, so that’s why I let her come.”

Erreguin-Labra says he did not secretly confine the woman in his bedroom for five days.   He said he didn’t keep the woman’s whereabouts from anybody discovering or knowing where she was. He felt it was normal for the woman to stay with him for days at a time. “No I didn’t try to avoid that somebody could see here, that somebody would know she was at my house.”

On cross-examination by prosecutor Kaitlyn Ausborn, Erreguin-Labra admitted slapping the woman during a fight one day during her stay at the house. The defendant then was asked to review photos of the woman at the hospital that clearly show multiple bruises and injuries on her whole body. We’ve edited the woman’s name out of this audio to protect her identity.    Ausborn asked, “Mr. Erreguin-Labra, are you admitting to us that on Tuesday when you slapped (the woman), that this is the injury you caused?” He replied yes after the woman initiated the fight. Ausborn’s follow up question was, “from one slap, you caused this?” He says, “Yes you can see my five fingers there.”

Erreguin-Labra says he didn’t notice any bruises on the woman’s body prior to their fight.   Ausborn asked, “You testified on direct that you had sex (with the woman) two to three times in that time period of June 4th to June 9th of 2022, correct?” He agreed. “And in any of those times that you had sex, was she naked?” He replied before the fight, yes.  “Did you notice any of these bruises when she was naked when you were having sex with her?” He said he did not notice. “They are pretty sizable bruises, do you agree? And if they had been there prior to your fight, you probably would have noticed them on her body when you were having sex with her, right?” He replied that he did not see them.

Jurors will come back to the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse at noon today and will hear closing arguments and start deliberations later this afternoon.

If Erreguin-Labra is convicted of first-degree kidnapping, a Class A felony, he would face a mandatory life prison sentence without the opportunity for parole.