Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State of Iowa v. Keith Van Elson Jr

February 27, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KEITH VAN ELSON JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tabor, J.

Keith Elson appeals his conviction for first-degree kidnapping in violation of Iowa Code section 710.2 (2009). AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

Keith Elson abducted a nineteen-year-old clerk at knifepoint from the Cedar Rapids convenience store where she was working the overnight shift. He took her to his apartment where he sexually assaulted her and held her for seven hours. Following a bench trial, the district court found him guilty of first-degree kidnapping in violation of Iowa Code section 710.2 (2009). On appeal, he contends he was too intoxicated to form specific intent to commit the crime.

Because the State offered substantial evidence from which a fact finder could infer Elson's specific intent to subject his victim to sexual abuse, we affirm his conviction.

I. Factual Background and Legal Proceedings

Elson made two trips to the Kwik Shop on Tenth Street and First Avenue Southwest in the early morning hours of May 17, 2010. Both were captured on the store's surveillance tape. Around 1:30 a.m. he entered and asked the clerk for the location of the restroom. A.D. was working alone and helping another customer as she pointed Elson toward the restroom, where she estimated he spent twenty minutes. When he emerged he asked her how late the store stayed open and then left.

Elson returned at 4 a.m. He chained his bicycle to an eye bolt on the outside wall of a Family Dollar Store across Tenth Street from the Kwik Shop. A.D. recalled him entering the convenience store wearing a backpack.*fn1 He tried to buy beer, but A.D. told him the store was not allowed to sell alcohol at that hour. She put the beer back in the cooler where it belonged, and as she returned to the counter, she walked by Elson at the coffee island. He grabbed the back of her neck with his left hand and said: "I'm sorry. You have to come with me." In his right hand he held a large knife. A.D. did not perceive Elson as stumbling or slurring his words.

Keeping his grip on A.D., he walked her out of the store and around the building's dumpsters toward an alley. When they encountered another pedestrian, Elson warned A.D. not to say anything. They took a complex route, through alleyways and parking lots and over retaining walls, until they arrived at the back door of Elson's apartment complex. A.D. recalled Elson stumbling twice during the five-block walk. They went up a flight of stairs to Elson's apartment. He fumbled for his keys but eventually unlocked his door and pushed A.D. inside the apartment.

Elson ordered her to undress, and she complied because she was afraid. Elson removed his clothes, retrieved a bottle of shaving cream from a table, and returned to the bed. He forced A.D. to perform oral sex. He then slathered her with shaving cream and put his mouth on her body. He also applied the cream to his penis and then forced A.D. to have vaginal sex. Elson told the teenager to act like she "enjoyed it" or he would hurt her.

After the sex acts, A.D. put her clothes back on and recalled that Elson kept talking:

He kept apologizing. He would say-he would tell me not to let anybody ever hurt me. He told me that he knew I was raised up right, because of the way I acted and that he had been watching me; that he knew the people I talked to or the vehicles I drove to work. He would make me read things on the wall.

Elson told A.D. he had been abused by his father. He had scrawled several messages on the apartment walls with markers, bemoaning his condition and blaming his father. After forcing A.D. to read his writings, he returned her to the bed and rigged a belt from the ceiling, threatening to hang himself. He then talked some more. Among his revelations, he told her cocaine was his drug of choice and having sex was the best way for him to "get his fix" without doing cocaine. He also lied to A.D. about his name, saying it was Kevin. He eventually grabbed her by the wrist and forced her to accompany him ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.