Portage woman sentenced to life in prison for strangling boyfriend to death


KALAMAZOO, MI — A woman convicted last month of killing her boyfriend at a Portage apartment in January 2022 was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

Iyanna Colon, 23, was sentenced by Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Paul Bridenstine on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Colon, despite a self-defense argument, was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 3 following a three-day jury trial. Colon was charged in the January 2022 homicide of her boyfriend, Maan Saleh Alblowi.

Colon reported Alblowi’s death to Portage police on the afternoon of Jan. 18, 2022, the day after his death.

Alblowi, 25, was fatally choked in a Portage apartment.

Defense attorney Benjamin Norg argued during the trial that Alblowi’s death was self-defense by Colon, after he had choked her to the point of blacking out.

“Ms. Colon maintains her innocence and I continue to advocate for Ms. Colon’s innocence,” Norg said at the sentencing. “I believe Ms. Colon acted in lawful self-defense and acquittal should have been granted on that ground.”

Norg further stated he did not believe sufficient evidence had been shown for the jury to find that Colon had premeditated the act.

“I believe if Ms. Colon didn’t do what she did that day, she would not be here today,” Norg told Bridenstine just prior to the sentencing being handed down.

When asked if she wished to address the court prior to sentencing, Colon declined.

“The jury disregarded your defense and found you responsible for the killing of Mr. Alblowi,” Bridenstine said. “And as a result, given what it is that they found you guilty of and you being treated as a third habitual offender, it is the sentence of this court that you be sentenced to the Michigan Department of Corrections for the rest of your natural life.”

Colon did not act in self-defense, Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Sheppard said during closing arguments on Aug. 2.

“She killed him,” Sheppard said. “She did it intentionally. She did it because she thought about it.”

On Sept. 5, she reminded the court of the jury’s decision.

“They had the opportunity to listen to all of the evidence and they returned the verdict that they saw appropriate based on the evidence,” Sheppard said.

Colon was on probation when the incident occurred, Bridenstine said. A third-time habitual offender, she had a history of violence prior to the strangling of Alblowi and had twice pleaded guilty to charges.

She had previously pleaded guilty in March 2021 to a felony charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. She also pleaded guilty in October 2021 to felony resisting, assaulting and obstructing a police officer. A charge of domestic violence and a second charge of resisting, assaulting and obstructing a police officer were dismissed.

During a preliminary hearing in June 2022, Portage Police officer Brent Reynhout testified about Colon’s initial report to police. Reynhout said that when Colon first reported Alblowi’s death, she told him Alblowi dragged her by her hair, hit her head and choked her until she couldn’t breathe and blacked out.

She then started to choke him back and he stopped breathing, Reynhout said she told him.

Police then went to the apartment, where Reynhout said he found Alblowi’s body in a closet.

Colon told police she cried and prayed next to his body for about an hour-and-a-half before realizing he was dead, according to a probable cause affidavit. She then said she dragged his body to the closet.

Eventually she went to sleep on a mattress in the living room. The next morning, she told family what happened and then went to the police station to report it, the affidavit said.

Colon told Portage detective Derek Hess essentially the same thing she told Reynhout, according to testimony. He said he interviewed her after reading her Miranda Rights.

Colon has 42 days to appeal her case. Her attorney couldn’t be reached prior to publication to see if she plans to appeal.


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