Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L. Stigler, Judge.
Dwight May challenges the sufficiency of the State's proof he committed burglary or possessed a firearm as a felon.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Stephan Japuntich, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Thomas H. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Joel Dalrymple, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.
Dwight May challenges the sufficiency of the State's proof he committed burglary or possessed a firearm as a felon. May contends the video evidence capturing the break-in of his co-worker's car is too grainy to show May was the perpetrator. Because ample circumstantial evidence supports the jury's verdicts, we affirm.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
A jury heard the following facts. Dwight May and Michael McSwain worked together at Tyson Foods, loading out boxes onto a conveyor belt. May, McSwain, and the other thirteen members of the "load-out" crew wore white hard hats and orange gloves when doing their jobs. These distinctive parts of their uniform came into play when authorities were attempting to solve the crime at issue in this case.
McSwain owned a modest gun collection and discussed his hobby with coworkers. Once after their shift in January 2012, McSwain offered rides home to May and another coworker, Martin Muse. On the trip, May and Muse saw McSwain's Sig Sauer Model P226 .40 caliber pistol in his glove box. McSwain testified he did not broadcast to other members of the load-out crew his habit of keeping a firearm in his car.
In late February 2012, McSwain agreed to sell one of his handguns to May. But when McSwain learned May was a felon, he had second thoughts about the sale. McSwain lied to May, telling him he sold the gun to someone else. May was angry, telling McSwain: "That's fucked up."
When McSwain returned to his car after having worked the overnight shift on March 6, 2012, he found his back window had been smashed. He also saw duct tape left on the ground. The car's console and glove box were open and McSwain's Sig Sauer .45 semi-automatic pistol was missing. Nothing else was disturbed in his car and no other vehicles in the Tyson lot had been burglarized that morning.
McSwain called the police, who asked him to watch security footage of the plant from the early morning hours of March 6. Two cameras on Tyson's property captured critical evidence. First, an interior camera shot allowed McSwain to identify May leaving the guard shack for the parking lot at 2:57 a.m. and returning at 3:24 a.m. Second, an exterior camera continuously panned the parking lot. Its footage was low quality, but McSwain was able to see a person dressed in dark clothing and orange gloves swinging "what looked like" a white hard hat into his car window at 3:07 a.m. McSwain could not identify that person as May, though the clothing was consistent with what May was wearing when he left the guard shack and the gear was the same as issued to members of the load-out crew.
Police interviewed May on the afternoon of March 6. May denied committing the burglary and denied even leaving the plant during his break. The next day, police showed May the video image of him re-entering the plant at 3:24 a.m. Faced with that evidence, May admitted ...