Father of University of Iowa student charged with attempted murder pleads guilty to aiding his escape

The father of a former University of Iowa student wanted for attempted murder and fled the country has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his son’s escape.

Alfred Younes, 49, pled guilty to escaping from custody, a Class D felony, on Monday. Class D felonies carry a minimum five-year prison sentence and up to a $10,245 fine. Younes and his attorney are requesting a deferred judgment. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

In his guilty plea, Younes admitted to helping his son, Ali Younes, board a flight to Jordan in May. Ali Younes was charged with robbery, attempted murder and theft in Iowa City, charges that carry a potential penalty of 60 years in prison. 

More:Former UI student wanted for attempted murder flees country, dad arrested in Omaha

The former University of Iowa student was set to go on trial on May 16 for his alleged role in a crime that took place near the university’s Art Building West in May 2021. Police alleged Ali Younes, then a student living in on-campus housing at Burge Hall, tackled and strangled a woman, knocking her unconscious before stealing her earrings, valued at $20,000.

Younes later admitted to police that he stole the earrings from the unconscious woman because he thought she was dead, according to court documents.

Alfred Younes allegedly dropped wanted son off at airport

Alfred Younes and his wife, Lima Younes allegedly sold their family vehicle for $20,000 in May and rented a van, which authorities believe they acquired to transport their son across state lines. 

On May 6, police lost contact with the ankle monitor worn by Ali Younes. That day, the Younes family, alongside Wafa Najim and a fifth individual whose name was redacted from reports, allegedly traveled in the rental vehicle to Chicago to drop Najim and Ali Younes off at O’Hare Airport, where he boarded a plane to Jordan.

After being pulled over by Dubuque police on May 6, Alfred Younes claimed the trip to Chicago was to drop Najim off for a flight to Canada. The next day, police obtained documents that showed that Ali Younes and Najim had been on the Jordan-bound flight and Younes had paid for his trip in cash.

Police apprehended Alfred and his wife Lima on May 9 after being notified that Alfred had bought tickets for a pair of flights, first from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield to O’Hare, then from Chicago to Jordan.

Ali Younes had been restricted to his family home in O’Brien County for 11 months prior following a court order that stemmed from his arrest in 2022. He was staying with family awaiting trial.

More:FBI, Homeland Security seek former UI student on house arrest for attempted murder

A jury found Lima Younes guilty in August

Lima Younes was found guilty of the same crime, aiding and abetting her son’s escape from custody, on Aug. 3. 

Her case was taken to trial, where a jury of 12 convicted her for felony escape from custody.

Exhibits presented throughout the trial and entered into the Johnson County District Court system show Younes in his passport photo and photos of a man who resembles Younes in surveillance cameras on May 6.

Exhibits also show a check given to Alfred Younes by Carmax for more than $21,000, which was deposited into Alfred Younes’ account. According to exhibits presented by the state, the account was frozen on May 10.

The sentencing of Lima Younes is set for Sept. 21 at 2 p.m., where she could face a five-year prison sentence and a multi-thousand-dollar fine.

The couple’s son, Ali Younes, remains at large, according to court documents. A judge has issued a bench warrant for his arrest, which includes a $500,000 bond.

Ryan Hansen covers local government and crime for the Press-Citizen. He can be reached atrhansen@press-citizen.com or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @ryanhansen01.

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