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Press Release

Waterloo Man Convicted after Escape from Halfway House

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Has Prior Convictions for Burglary, Firearm Possession, and Assault

A Waterloo man who escaped from a Waterloo halfway house and spent over two weeks on the lam was convicted after a half-hour bench trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.  Lonnel Porter, age 35, from Waterloo, Iowa, was convicted of one count of escape from custody.  The verdict was returned on January 16, 2020.

The evidence at trial and prior court proceedings showed that, in 2009, Porter was convicted in federal court of possessing a firearm as a felon after an incident wherein he displayed an assault-rifle during a neighborhood dispute.  At that time, Porter had prior convictions for burglary, domestic assault causing injury, and false imprisonment.  Porter was sentenced in 2009 to nearly nine years in prison and three years of supervised release.  In 2012, while an inmate in federal prison, Porter was sentenced to an additional two years of prison after assaulting a correctional officer and causing injury to the officer.  When Porter was released from prison in 2019, he was required to spend time at a local halfway house, the Waterloo Residential Reentry Center (WRRC), with work-release privileges.  On September 16, 2019, about six weeks after he arrived at the WRRC, Porter signed out for his job, left the WRRC, and never returned.  When Porter’s probation officer called Porter on the telephone and instructed him to return to the WRRC, Porter refused to do so and would not reveal his location.  On October 2, 2019, the United States Marshal’s Service arrested Porter, and Porter was returned to prison for 14 months for violating the terms of his supervised release.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Porter remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Porter faces a possible maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and was investigated by the United States Marshal’s Service. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-CR-2069.

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Updated January 21, 2020

Violent Crime