A rural Asbury, Iowa, man accused of sexually assaulting a woman and stabbing her with a pen has entered an Alford plea to a felony assault charge.

Daniel P. Fitzgibbons, 47, on July 1 entered the plea to a charge of domestic assault impeding air/blood flow causing bodily injury, according to online court documents.

An Alford plea means Fitzgibbons is not admitting guilt but believes there is sufficient evidence for a jury to convict him. He will be sentenced Sept. 9.

According to court documents, on Feb. 10, 2018, Fitzgibbons assaulted and strangled a woman, whom he knew. He also is accused of stabbing her with a pen and sexually assaulting her. The Telegraph Herald does not provide identifying information for victims of sexual crimes.

Per the plea agreement, two of three assault charges — one of which also was a felony — were dropped.

Prosecutors recommend a five-year suspended prison sentence and two to five years of formal probation, according to documents.

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