Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Bobbi M. Alpers, Judge.
Defendant appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, and assault causing serious injury.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Patricia Reynolds, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, Kelly Cunningham, Assistant County Attorney, and Mary Triick, Student Legal Intern, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, P.J., Tabor, J., and Huitink, S.J. [*]
I. Background Facts & Proceedings.
The record includes evidence of the following. Nikolas Bender was a drug dealer in Davenport, Iowa, and Derrick Pena was one of his clients. A few weeks before the incidents involved in this case, Pena came to Bender's home to purchase illegal drugs and observed Bender get the drugs out of a safe in his basement. Pena was one of only two clients Bender permitted into his home.
On January 17, 2011, Pena texted Bender and stated his uncle wanted to purchase a half ounce of cocaine. Bender texted that was about all he had left and it would cost $700. Pena responded that he would tell his uncle and would get back to Bender. However, Pena never took any further action to consummate the sale. Bender spent the evening playing videogames with his roommates and smoking marijuana.
At about 10:00 p.m., Bender responded to a knock at his back door and saw a person he recognized as Bobby Thompson, who he had known in intermediate school about eight or nine years previously. Thompson stated his car had broken down, and he asked to use Bender's telephone. A person wearing a mask then approached Bender from the side of the house and pointed a shotgun at him. Bender went back into the living room. The person with the gun, another person wearing a mask, and Thompson, now also wearing a mask, followed Bender.
Thompson hit Bender on the top of the head with black-covered brass knuckles. The three men asked Bender and his roommates to empty their pockets and lay on the floor. Thompson and one of the men went to Bender's room in the basement, then came up and asked for the code to his safe. Thompson tried to take Bender downstairs to open the safe, and Bender started struggling and yelled out for someone to call the police. The person with the gun then came from the living room and shot Bender in the leg. Thompson and the other two men ran away.
As Officer Bryan Butt of the Davenport Police Department was responding to the scene, he saw a vehicle with four occupants driving away. He saw one of the passengers in the vehicle had a hairstyle consistent with that of Thompson. Bender was hospitalized to receive medical treatment for his gunshot wound. After the incident, Bender saw on Facebook that Thompson and Pena were associated. Bender showed the Facebook page to police officers. He also picked Thompson's picture out of a photographic line-up.
On January 26, 2011, Officer Butt conducted a traffic stop, and Thompson was a passenger in the vehicle. The officer observed Thompson had a black ski mask and gloves in his pocket. The officer also found black-colored brass knuckles on Thompson. Thompson's cell phone showed an unusually large number of calls between himself and Pena on January 17, 2011.
Thompson was charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, willful injury causing serious injury, and assault while participating in a felony resulting in serious injury. Thompson was tried jointly with co-defendant Pena. A jury found Thompson guilty of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, ...