Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, John Bauercamper, Judge.
A defendant appeals his conviction for stalking.
Mark C. Meyer, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, Ralph Potter, County Attorney, and Laura Roan, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.
James Doyle appeals from the judgment and sentence entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of stalking, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.11(2) and 708.11(3)(c) (2011), an aggravated misdemeanor. Doyle argues, inter alia, that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the district court should have granted his motion for a new trial because the guilty verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence. For the reasons stated below, we affirm Doyle's conviction.
I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.
Doyle and his wife, Tracy, were divorced in 2008. After the divorce Doyle and Tracy continued to maintain a non-marital relationship and were involved together in the lives of their children. In 2009, Tracy began dating Randy Hansen, though Doyle continued to be involved in her life. Tracy described her relationship with Hansen as on-again and off-again throughout 2010 and 2011. Beginning in about November 2010, Doyle began making phone calls to Hansen regarding Hansen's relationship with Tracy. In November 2010, the taillight on Hansen's pickup truck was smashed while it was parked in downtown Dubuque. The wires underneath the broken taillight were later torn out. Shortly after these incidents Hansen received a call from Doyle in which Doyle said, "You know that problem you had a little while ago? You're going to have problems like that the rest of your life." During this call Doyle also told Hansen, "I know good people, and I know bad people, and I know lots of bad people."
Over the next several months Doyle continued to make calls to Hansen, many of which Hansen would not answer. On some occasions Doyle would place the calls from his daughter's cell phone, ostensibly to avoid Hansen's screening efforts. During the calls that resulted in conversations, Doyle made numerous statements to Hansen. Doyle told Hansen in one call, "We're going to do things the easy way or we're going to do things the hard way." In another, Doyle cautioned Hansen "not to say something stupid." In yet another, Doyle told Hansen, "If you f--- with my family, I'll f--- with you." Hansen testified this last call made him concerned Doyle would try to hurt him or would try to have him killed.
In October 2011, Doyle began to call Hansen much more frequently. Doyle repeatedly asked Hansen when he last saw Tracy, when the two last had sexual relations, and what they talked about when they were together. Doyle told Hansen that Doyle would keep calling if Hansen refused to answer these questions. During another call in October 2011, Doyle told Hansen if he did not answer his questions, Doyle would be "a thorn in your side the rest of your life."
On October 21, 2011, Hansen returned to his house to find a wooden plank he kept outside placed lengthwise across the pedestrian door to his garage. The next day while he was working on the boat he kept in the garage, he noticed a deep gouge had been made down the length of the boat. He also noticed that the tires on his trailer had been slashed. The damage to the boat and trailer was investigated by Special Agent Jon Turbett of the Division of Criminal Investigation. Agent Turbett conducted two interviews of Doyle. In one interview, Doyle admitted he had driven by Hansen's house in the night on
October 21, but he denied ever setting foot on Hansen's property. Agent Turbett collected footage from traffic cameras and a private surveillance camera along the route between Doyle's and Hansen's houses for October 21. The footage revealed a truck matching the description of Doyle's vehicle driving a circuitous route toward the location of Hansen's house and making a return trip shortly thereafter. Doyle also told Agent Turbett he had driven by Hansen's house approximately twenty to twenty-five times during the time in which Tracy and Hansen were seeing each other, but there is no evidence Hansen ever saw Doyle as he drove by the house.
As a result of this investigation, Doyle was charged by trial information on March 6, 2012, with third-degree burglary, in violation of Iowa Code sections 713.1 and 713.6A and with stalking, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.11(2) and 708.11(3)(c). A jury trial was held in June 2012. At the close of the State's case, Doyle moved for a judgment of acquittal, claiming the State had not produced sufficient evidence to support either count of the trial information. The district court denied this motion. After the close of all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the charge of third-degree burglary and a verdict of guilty on the charge of stalking. Thereafter, Doyle filed alternative motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial. In support of the motion in arrest of judgment, Doyle argued there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict on the stalking ...