December 21, 2016
STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
JAYDEN RAY CHAPMAN, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, John D.
Chapman appeals his convictions following a jury trial for
two counts of first-degree murder and one count of reckless
use of fire. AFFIRMED.
Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey &
Daane, Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
Chapman appeals his convictions following a jury trial for
two counts of first-degree murder, in violation of Iowa Code
section 707.2 (2013), in the deaths of Marvin Huelsing and
Alice Huisenga, and one count of reckless use of fire, in
violation of section 712.5. Chapman contends his trial
counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to object
to faulty jury instructions. Chapman also asserts the verdict
is not supported by substantial evidence or, in the
alternative, is contrary to the weight of the evidence.
Because we find trial counsel did not render ineffective
assistance, there is substantial evidence supporting
Chapman's convictions, and the verdict is not contrary to
the weight of the evidence, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
facts as presented at trial reflect that in the early morning
hours of March 10, 2014, Michael Schenk, Jayden Chapman, and
Erika Dains met, used methamphetamine, and rode in
Schenk's blue extended-cab truck to a farm belonging to
Marvin Huelsing with the intent to steal scrap metal. Dains
testified that while they were driving around the farm
property collecting various items, including steel posts, the
truck got stuck in the mud. Efforts to pull the truck out of
the mud were unsuccessful, and it was beginning to become
light outside. Chapman testified he noticed the cows coming
toward the grain feeders and realized someone could be coming
to feed them soon. Chapman testified he told Schenk "the
cows are heading towards their feed bunk. They're going
to need to eat soon. And I asked him, what if people come.
And then that's when-that's when he made the comment
that if people come, we'll kill them."
and Schenk walked up towards the area of the property where a
mobile home was located to try to find something to help
extract the truck from the mud. Chapman testified he and
Schenk also searched the mobile home. Schenk located a .22
rifle, and Chapman located .12 gauge and .22 shells. Chapman
and Schenk were still inside the mobile home when they heard
a vehicle approaching. Schenk, armed with the gun, and
Chapman, armed with a knife, hid in the trailer. Chapman
testified he heard a man, Huelsing, state loudly that he was
going to call the sheriff, and Chapman and Schenk rushed out
of the mobile home toward the man and woman outside while
displaying the knife and gun. The man was Marvin Huelsing,
who owned the farm, and the woman was Alice Huisenga, who was
a long-time friend and farming partner of Huelsing. Huisenga
would accompany Huelsing to the farm several times a week to
help Huelsing on the farm or have coffee in the mobile home.
testified Schenk was yelling and ordered Huelsing and
Huisenga to throw their phones. Chapman testified,
that's when I remembered that-what he said earlier and
how he was acting around these people. And I remember his
comment that [if] people come, we'll kill them. And so I
told Michael, I said, Michael, we don't have to do what
you said earlier. . . . No one has to get hurt. We can leave.
Schenk ordered Huelsing and Huisenga to go inside the mobile
home. Upon hearing a click and believing Huelsing had locked
the door to the mobile home, Schenk fired at Huelsing and
shot him in the chest. Chapman and Schenk then entered the
mobile home. Chapman testified Schenk handed Chapman the gun
and ordered him to shoot Huisenga. Chapman pointed the gun at
Huisenga and pulled the trigger. He then threw the gun back
to Schenk and ran out of the mobile home. Huelsing struggled
against Schenk and the gun while the two were exiting the
mobile home. Schenk broke away with the gun, and Huelsing ran
in the direction of Chapman. Chapman pushed Huelsing, and
Huelsing fell to the ground. According to Chapman, Schenk
then shot Huelsing again in the chest area and in the
who had remained with Schenk's truck, testified she heard
a man yell, "I'm going to call the sheriff"
followed by the sound of a gunshot. Dains testified she saw
Chapman drive a "little truck"-later identified as
belonging to Huelsing-around the side of the mobile home,
stop, and get out. Dains then saw Schenk approach the small
truck and put a "long" gun in the cab. Schenk then
ran down to where Dains was located. Dains testified Schenk
was crying and stated, "I had to shoot him. I had no
choice." Chapman then drove the small truck to Dains and
Schenk. Chapman told Dains, "I had to take control
because [Schenk] couldn't go through with it." Dains
noticed a purse in the small truck.
Chapman, and Dains then rode in the small truck back towards
the area of the property near the mobile home to again try to
find something to help get Schenk's truck out of the mud.
Dains saw a man lying on the ground near the mobile home
"with blood bubbles coming out of his mouth."
Schenk approached the man and took his wallet, ID, and
cellphone. Dains testified Chapman and Schenk leaned over the
body whispering. Dains also saw Chapman and Schenk break two
cell phones belonging to Huelsing and Huisenga. Dains,
Schenk, and Chapman then drove the small truck back down near
Schenk's truck and were finally able to extract
Schenk's truck from the mud using chains.
testified Chapman then "said that, you know, we have to
get rid of the [small] truck-or get rid of it, like start it
on fire or something." To which Schenk responded,
"Yeah, I know." Dains testified she and Schenk then
again drove in Schenk's truck up to the area of the
property near the mobile home. Schenk went back down to the
small truck, where Chapman had remained. Chapman testified he
spray painted the knobs on a tractor to obliterate any
fingerprints while Schenk lit the small truck on fire. Dains
testified she did not see Chapman or Schenk set fire to the
truck, but she "heard the horn going off, and it
wouldn't stop going off."
testified Chapman and Schenk then came back up to
Schenk's truck. While Dains waited in Schenk's truck,
Schenk went into the mobile home. Chapman stood outside
Schenk's truck and yelled at Schenk "to hurry up,
hurry up. Come on, come on." After about five or ten
minutes, Schenk came out carrying gas cans and placed them in
the truck near Dains, along with the gun and other items
taken from Huelsing and Huisenga. After Schenk came out of
the mobile home, Dains saw flames coming from the structure.
Schenk, Chapman, and Dains then left the property. They
retrieved Dains' car, and she followed Schenk and Chapman
to Derek Olbertz's house.
testified he saw Schenk, Chapman, and Dains on the morning of
March 10, 2014, trying to unload items into his backyard and
he told them they could not leave the scrap metal there. He
testified Schenk, as well as the cab of Schenk's truck
where Chapman was sitting, smelled of gasoline. Dains
testified that while at Olbertz's house, Schenk and
Chapman moved items taken from the farm including the gun,
clothing items, and gas cans to her car. Dains then took
Chapman to the hotel where he was staying, and Chapman
unloaded the gun, clothing items, and gas cans.
was reported, and officers arrived at Huelsing's farm on
the afternoon of March 10, 2014. Officers found both the
small truck and the mobile home on fire. Officers also found
Huelsing's badly-burned body near the mobile home. After
the fire subsided, a body-later identified as
Huisenga's-was found inside the mobile home. The medical
examiner testified Huelsing sustained two gunshot wounds to
his chest, one to his back, and one to the back of his head.
The medical examiner stated Huisenga likely had sustained one
to four gunshot wounds based on evidence of internal
lacerations and skull fractures.
witness who drove by Huelsing's farm on the way to school
every day testified that on the morning of March 10, 2014,
she saw two "skinny" men standing near a blue
extended-cab truck on Huelsing's property.
March 12, 2014, Chapman and Schenk went to Dains' house.
Dains testified they were worried, said they were going to
Mexico, and told her not to tell police officers anything she
knew. While Chapman and Schenk were at her house, officers
arrived and arrested them.
interviewed by police officers, Chapman admitted his
involvement in the crimes but purposefully lied and did not
reveal the location of the gun or other incriminating items.
However, Schenk provided information leading the officers to
find the items left near the motel where Chapman was
residing, including a rifle and ammunition, clothing, and
items belonging to Huelsing and Huisenga. Huelsing's
blood was found on the rifle. The neckline and cuffs of a
black coat found with the items, along with a stain on the
left pocket of the coat, were found to contain Chapman's
DNA. Huelsing's DNA was extracted from a blood stain on
the underneath side of the left sleeve of the black coat.
Additionally, a pair of jeans found with the other items was
determined to have Schenk's DNA on the waistband.
Huelsing's DNA was extracted from a spot of blood found
on the back of one of the legs of those jeans. Gas cans were
also found inside Chapman's hotel room.
March 21, 2014, Chapman was charged by trial information with
two counts of first-degree murder and one count of
first-degree arson. Jury trial was held April 28, 29, and 30,
and May 1, 4, and 5, 2015. The jury returned guilty verdicts
on both counts of first-degree murder, and on one count of
reckless use of fire-a lesser-included offense of
second-degree arson. The jury verdict did not designate
whether Chapman was found guilty as the principal or as an
aider and abettor to each of the first-degree-murder
convictions. Chapman filed a motion for new trial and a
motion in arrest of judgment on May 22, 2015. The district
court denied the motions prior to the sentencing hearing held
June 5, 2015. Chapman was sentenced to incarceration for the
rest of his life without the possibility of parole on each
count of first-degree murder and incarceration for a period
of one year on the count of reckless use of fire.
Standard of Review.
review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo.
State v. Clay, 824 N.W.2d 488, 494 (Iowa 2012).
Sufficiency-of-evidence claims are reviewed for correction of
errors at law. State v. Tyler, 873 N.W.2d 741, 746
(Iowa 2016). And "[w]e review a district court's
ruling as to whether a verdict was contrary to the weight of
the evidence for abuse of discretion." State v.
Thompson, 836 N.W.2d 470, 476 (Iowa 2013).
Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel-Jury
first asserts trial counsel was ineffective in failing to
object to improper jury instructions regarding Chapman's
guilt as an aider and abettor to the murders of Huelsing and
prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a
claimant must satisfy the Strickland [v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)] test by showing
'(1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty; and (2)
prejudice resulted.'" Clay, 824 N.W.2d at
495 (quoting State v. Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d 185, 195
(Iowa 2008)). Both elements must be proved by a preponderance
of the evidence. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133
(Iowa 2006). "[B]oth elements do not always need to be
addressed. If the claim lacks prejudice, it can be decided on
that ground alone without deciding whether the attorney
performed deficiently." Ledezma v. State, 626
N.W.2d 134, 142 (Iowa 2001).
contends jury instructions on the first-degree-murder counts
were improper because they did not contain the instruction
that Chapman could only be found guilty as an aider and
abettor based on the principal's malice aforethought if
Chapman had knowledge of the principal's malice
Instruction No. 18 provided in relevant part:
The State must prove all of the following elements of Murder
in the First Degree, (Marvin Huelsing):
1.On or about the 10th day of March, 2014, the defendant:
(a)shot Marvin Huelsing.
(b) Aided and abetted another person who shot Marvin
2.Marvin Huelsing died as a result of being shot.
3. (a) The defendant acted with malice aforethought;
(b) The person the defendant aided and abetted acted with
4. (a) The defendant acted willfully, deliberately,
premeditatedly and with a specific intent to kill Marvin
(b) The person the defendant aided and abetted acted
willfully, deliberately, premeditatedly and the defendant
knew the other person acted with a specific intent to kill
Instruction No. 35 with respect to the first-degree-murder
count for the murder of Alice Huisenga was substantially
respect to malice aforethought, Jury Instruction No. 20
provided in relevant part, "'Malice
aforethought' is a fixed purpose or design to do some
physical harm to another which exists before the act is
committed. It does not have to exist for any particular
length of time."
No. 24 permitted the jury to infer malice, premeditation and
specific intent if "a person has the opportunity to
deliberate and uses a dangerous weapon."
specific intent, Instruction No. 25 provided,
"'Specific intent' means not only being aware of
doing an act and doing it voluntarily, but in addition, doing
it with a specific purpose in mind."
essence, Chapman contends both marshalling instructions Nos.
18 and 35 should have also required the State to prove
Chapman had malice aforethought or he knew Schenk had malice
aforethought. Chapman relies upon comments in State v.
Bogan, 774 N.W.2d 676, 684 (Iowa 2009), where the court
addressed other issues that could arise on retrial. The court
Bogan raised, through an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel
claim, that the district court's jury instructions
contained error because they failed to require the State to
prove the defendant acted with malice aforethought or with
the knowledge that those he aided and abetted acted with
malice aforethought. See State v. Tangie, 616 N.W.2d
564, 573 (Iowa 2000). The State agrees the jury should have
been instructed on this requirement. Because we have already
reversed Bogan's conviction on other grounds, we need not
reach the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Nonetheless, the court will have an opportunity to instruct
the jury properly on remand.
Bogan, 774 N.W.2d at 684. Thus, there was no
analysis in Bogan of the issue presented here.
Bogan, the court cited to Tangie, 616
N.W.2d 564, where the issue of the necessary proof was fully
addressed. In Tangie, the court stated, "When
intent is an element of the crime charged, a person may be
convicted as an aider and abettor by participating either
with the requisite intent or with the knowledge that the
principal possesses the required intent." 616 N.W.2d at
573. In Tangie, the court was reviewing the
propriety of the jury instruction for murder in the second
degree. Id. The intent element for murder in the
first degree requires the specific intent to kill with malice
aforethought. See Iowa Code §§ 707.1, .2.
the jury was properly instructed that to be found guilty for
first-degree murder, Chapman must have acted with a specific
intent to kill or possessed knowledge of the principal's
specific intent to kill. See Tangie, 616 N.W.2d at
If Chapman possessed knowledge of the principal's
specific intent to kill, Chapman also possessed knowledge of
the principal's "fixed purpose or design to do some
physical harm to another which exist[ed] before the act [wa]s
committed" under these facts. See Tyler, 873
N.W.2d at 751 ("We recently elaborated on the
distinction between malice aforethought and specific intent
to kill in State v. Ceretti, 871 N.W.2d 88, 93-94
(Iowa 2015), emphasizing that the former concept is broader
than the latter."); see also Ceretti, 871
N.W.2d at 93 ("Murder is a killing with malice
aforethought, and is presumptively second-degree murder
unless the circumstances elevate it to first-degree
murder."). "Malice aforethought is a general
intent, a state of mind that need not be accompanied by a
specific intent to kill." Ceretti, 871 N.W.2d
at 93-94. But to obtain a conviction for murder in the first
degree, the State must establish the defendant had a specific
intent to kill. Id.
in Ceretti, our supreme court also stated that
although "malice aforethought is not necessarily
accompanied by an intent to kill, " "[a] person who
acts with intent to kill also acts with malice
aforethought." Id. at 94 n.4. Accordingly,
here, the jury was not required to find that Chapman had
malice aforethought to be convicted as an aider and abettor.
If the jury found that Schenk had the specific intent to kill
and Chapman had knowledge of Schenk's intent, then
Chapman also knew of Schenk's malice aforethought.
Because the jury found Chapman guilty utilizing proper jury
instructions regarding specific intent, Chapman cannot
establish counsel was ineffective for failing to object to
the jury instructions.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel-Prejudice.
our analysis with respect to the jury instructions is in
error, Chapman cannot establish prejudice. "Prejudice
exists where the claimant proves by 'a reasonable
probability that, but for the counsel's unprofessional
errors, the result of the proceedings would have been
different.'" Clay, 824 N.W.2d at 496
the record reveals ample evidence of Chapman's knowledge
of Schenk's malice aforethought and specific intent.
Chapman himself testified Schenk told him if people came they
would kill them. Chapman and Schenk took possession of
ammunition and at least one gun from the mobile home. Chapman
also testified when Schenk was threatening Huelsing and
Huisenga with the weapon-demanding they throw their phones
and yelling-Chapman remembered what Schenk had said about
killing people that arrived at the property, observed how
Schenk was acting, and was concerned Schenk intended to hurt
Huelsing and Huisenga. There is no question that Chapman was
aware of Schenk's fixed purpose to do physical harm to
Huelsing and Huisenga. Both Huelsing and Huisenga were
victims of gun shots and killed. There is no evidence of
Chapman objecting to Schenk's course of conduct or
withdrawing from the scene. Thus, even if trial counsel had
objected, there is no reasonable probability the outcome of
the trial would have been different.
we find no prejudice, we conclude Chapman has failed to prove
his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim.
also contends his convictions are not supported by
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence for correction of
errors at law, "we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State" and uphold the verdict "if
substantial evidence supports it." Tyler, 873
N.W.2d at 746-47 (citation omitted). "Evidence is
considered substantial if . . . it can convince a rational
jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt." Id. at 747 (citation omitted). In
evaluating a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim:
Direct and circumstantial evidence are equally probative. A
jury is free to believe or disbelieve any testimony it
chooses and to give as much weight to the evidence as, in its
judgment, such evidence should receive. . . . A jury's
assessment of credibility may only be ignored on appeal when
the testimony is so impossible, absurd, and
self-contradictory that it may be deemed a nullity.
State v. Speaks, 576 N.W.2d 629, 632 (Iowa Ct. App.
1998) (internal citations omitted).
asserts, due to Chapman's and Schenk's
methamphetamine use, the record does not contain evidence of
Chapman's or Schenk's specific intent necessary to
sustain Chapman's convictions. Chapman also asserts the
record does not contain substantial evidence of Chapman's
aiding and abetting Schenk in anything other than the theft
of scrap metal. "To sustain a conviction on the theory
of aiding and abetting, the record must contain substantial
evidence the accused assented to or lent countenance and
approval to the criminal act either by active participation
or by some manner encouraging it prior to or at the time of
its commission." Tyler, 873 N.W.2d at 750
Neither knowledge of the crime nor proximity to the crime
scene are enough to prove aiding and abetting. However, they
are factors, which with circumstantial evidence such as
'presence, companionship, and conduct before and after
the offense is committed, ' may be enough to infer a
defendant's participation in the crime.
Tangie, 616 N.W.2d at 574.
also contends the record does not contain substantial
evidence of Chapman's knowledge of Schenk's malice
aforethought and there is insufficient evidence to support
his conviction for reckless use of fire. We find there is
substantial evidence supporting each of Chapman's
First-Degree Murder of Alice Huisenga. Chapman first
asserts the record reveals Chapman's long-term
methamphetamine use and methamphetamine use on the day of the
murders affected his cognitive abilities. Thus, Chapman
argues the record does not support a finding beyond a
reasonable doubt that Chapman was capable of forming the
requisite specific intent to support his conviction for the
first-degree murder of Huisenga. Instruction No. 27 explained
to the jury that a defendant is responsible for his acts
while under the influence of drugs, and "[i]ntoxication
is a defense only when it causes a mental disability which
makes the person incapable of forming the specific
jury heard testimony from Chapman's own expert witness,
Dr. Paul, an outpatient psychiatrist, regarding the effects
of methamphetamine use, as well as testimony from Chapman
regarding his state of mind on the day of the murders, and
did not find Chapman incapable of forming the requisite
specific intent. "Inherent in our standard of review of
jury verdicts in criminal cases is the recognition that the
jury [is] free to reject certain evidence, and credit other
evidence." State v. Sanford, 814 N.W.2d 611,
615 (Iowa 2012) (citation omitted).
was cognizant enough to realize someone may show up on the
property to feed the cows. Schenk said they would have to
kill them. They were both mentally able to use a multitude of
methods in attempting to extract Schenk's truck from the
mud. When Huelsing and Huisenga arrived, Chapman and Schenk
hid, then forced the victims into the mobile home, shot them,
and took significant steps to conceal their own connection to
the scene. The actions of Chapman and Schenk reflect clarity
of mind and purpose, not mental disability.
also asserts while under the influence of methamphetamine
Schenk was very controlling, he feared Schenk, and thus,
Chapman acquiesced to Schenk's demands. However, the
record does not support this contention. Moreover, the jury
was not instructed on the defense of compulsion, nor does
Chapman complain the jury should have been so instructed.
See Iowa Code § 704.10. We note Chapman aided
in directing the victims into the mobile home-where Huelsing
was first shot and Huisenga was killed-by brandishing a
knife. Dains testified after Chapman came back to
Schenk's truck following the shootings, Chapman stated he
had to "take control because [Schenk] couldn't go
through with it." The jury was entitled to infer from
this statement that although Schenk may have shot Huelsing,
it was Chapman who fired the fatal shots that killed both
victims. This inference is further supported by Chapman's
admission that he shot Huisenga, along with his actions
following the murders in concealing evidence clearly showing
Chapman's culpability for the crime.
other hand, the jury could have believed Chapman to the
extent he was just following Schenk's lead. The jury
could have concluded, as Chapman testified, that Schenk first
possessed the gun, then gave the gun to Chapman, and told
Chapman to shoot Huisenga. Chapman confessed to shooting the
gun at Huisenga one time. Viewing the evidence in a light
most favorable to the State, Huisenga was shot as many as
four times. After Chapman shot the gun, he gave or threw the
gun back to Schenk and ran from the mobile home. Schenk, now
in possession of the gun and intent on killing anyone who
arrived on the property, then had the opportunity to fire the
fatal shots killing Huisenga. Schenk also returned to the
mobile home before setting it on fire and had still another
opportunity to fire the fatal shots.
either event, there is substantial evidence in the record
supporting Chapman's conviction for the first-degree
murder of Huisenga as a principal or as an aider or abettor.
Moreover, Chapman had sufficient mental capacity to form the
requisite specific intent or sufficient mental capacity to
know of Schenk's specific intent.
First-Degree Murder of Marvin Huelsing. Chapman also
asserts the district court erred in denying his motion for
judgment of acquittal because there is not substantial
evidence supporting his conviction for the first-degree
murder of Huelsing. We find the record contains substantial
evidence supporting Chapman's conviction for the
first-degree murder of Huelsing as a principal or an aider
and abettor as well as sufficient mental capacity as we noted
with respect to the first-degree murder of Huisenga.
is substantial evidence in the record to establish Chapman
was a principal or aided and abetted Schenk in Huelsing's
murder. Both Chapman and Schenk were present at the scene and
were companions, using methamphetamine together and jointly
stealing scrap metal. The evidence reflects Chapman's
knowledge of Shenck's intention to harm individuals who
came to the farm and shows Chapman actively took part in the
murders. As previously noted, prior to the shootings, Schenk
told Chapman they would kill anyone who came to the farm.
Chapman helped Schenk search the mobile home and helped
Schenk arm himself by finding shells for the rifle. When
Chapman and Schenk heard a vehicle approaching, Chapman armed
himself with a knife. Chapman again stated he considered
Schenk's intention to harm Huelsing and Huisenga when
Schenk was threatening them at gunpoint to throw their
phones. Chapman brandished a knife to direct the victims into
the mobile home-where Huelsing was first shot and Huisenga
was killed. Chapman admits to shooting Huisenga. Even though
Schenk may have first shot Huelsing, he was apparently only
wounded as he grappled with Schenk before being pushed to the
ground by Chapman and shot again in the chest and head. Dains
testified Chapman stated just after the shootings he
"had to take control because [Schenk] couldn't go
through with it." Dains' testimony provides
sufficient evidence from which the jury could infer Chapman
was the principal or aided and abetted Schenk in
evidence in the record also reveals Chapman actively took
part in concealing evidence following the murders. Dains
testified she witnessed Chapman and Schenk standing over
Huelsing's body whispering. Dains stated Chapman and
Schenk broke Huelsing's and Huisenga's cell phones.
Dains also testified Chapman stated they needed to "get
rid of" the small truck, "like start it on fire or
something." Chapman then spray painted over areas of a
tractor where he suspected their fingerprints might be
discovered while Schenk lit the small truck on fire. Dains
testified Chapman took the incriminating items removed from
the crime scene, including the gun, clothing, and items
belonging to Huelsing and Huisenga from her vehicle. The
items were later discovered in a location near the hotel
where Chapman was residing. Chapman testified he was not
truthful with officers regarding the location of the items.
physical evidence as presented at trial also supports
Chapman's involvement. A black coat was found among the
other incriminating items, including the rifle with
Huelsing's blood on it and items belonging to Huelsing
and Huisenga. The black coat indicated Chapman was the
wearer, as Chapman's DNA was found on the neckline and
cuffs of the coat. A bloodstain on the underside of the left
sleeve of the black coat contained Huelsing's DNA.
following the March 10, 2014 murders, Dains testified Chapman
and Schenk came to her apartment and stated they needed to
flee to Mexico. They told Dains officers would question her
regarding the March 10 events and not to tell officers
anything she knew.
record contains overwhelming evidence supporting
Chapman's presence during the murders and companionship
with Schenk, and his conduct before, during, and after the
murders provides a strong inference of his participation in
the crimes. We therefore conclude Chapman's conviction
for the first-degree murder of Huelsing under either theory,
as a principal or aider and abettor, is supported by
Reckless Use of Fire.
Chapman contends there is insufficient evidence to support
his conviction for reckless use of fire. We disagree.
Code section 712.5 provides, "Any person who shall so
use fire or any incendiary or explosive device or material as
to recklessly endanger the property or safety of another
shall be guilty of a serious misdemeanor."
testified Chapman stated they had "to get rid of the
truck-or get rid of it, like start it on fire or
something." Dains testified Chapman and Schenk then went
back down near the small truck. The small truck was later
found engulfed in flames. Dains also testified Chapman
encouraged Schenk to "hurry up" while Schenk went
inside the mobile home. Dains saw Schenk emerge from the
mobile home as flames became visible coming from the
structure. Derek Olbertz testified when Schenk, Chapman, and
Dains came to his home shortly after leaving the farm, Schenk
smelled of gasoline and the smell of gasoline also emanated
from the cab of the truck where Chapman was sitting. Chapman
and Schenk worked together to rid the scene of their
fingerprints or DNA. During Chapman's interview with law
enforcement, Chapman admitted on more than one occasion,
"we set the fire."
even if Chapman did not light the fires himself, he
encouraged Schenk or lent countenance to his actions. We
therefore find there is substantial evidence supporting
Chapman's conviction for reckless use of fire as an aider
Verdict Contrary to the Weight of the Evidence.
alternatively asserts the district court abused its
discretion in denying his motion for new trial because the
verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence.
a motion for new trial, . . . the power of the court is much
broader [than on a motion for judgment of acquittal]. It may
weigh the evidence and consider the credibility of
witnesses." Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d at 192
(citation omitted). "If the court determines the verdict
is contrary to the weight of the evidence and a miscarriage
of justice may have occurred, it is within the court's
discretion to grant a new trial." Id. "The
district court has broad discretion in ruling on a motion for
new trial." State v. Reeves, 670 N.W.2d 199,
202 (Iowa 2003). "[T]he power to grant a new trial on
this ground should be invoked only in exceptional cases in
which the evidence preponderates heavily against the
verdict." Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d at 192 (citation
sentencing hearing, the district court ruled on the motion
for new trial, stating, "On the motion for new trial,
the court finds that the evidence-the weight of the evidence
does not preponderate heavily against the verdict. So the
motions are denied." We find no abuse of discretion. For
the reasons we previously explained, there is ample evidence
establishing Chapman's participation in the crimes. We
acknowledge there are reasons to withhold weight from the
testimony of Dains, such as the plea offer tendered to her,
she also acknowledged facts contrary to her interests.
Chapman was involved in the criminal activity from start to
finish including the attempted cover-up. He admitted he shot
Huisenga. His admission may have served to give more credence
to his version that he was not the principal and did not fire
the fatal shots. Nonetheless, he was an active participant in
the murders. He handed the shells to Schenk, and after
shooting at Huisenga, he gave the gun back to Schenk knowing
Schenk intended to kill anyone that came to the property. His
drug usage may have affected his good judgment, but there is
credible evidence that he knew and understood what was
transpiring the entire duration of the criminal acts.
Although he contends he could not form the specific intent to
kill, the jury was entitled to withhold weight from his
testimony and his expert's testimony on this issue. We
find the district court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the motion for new trial.
conclude Chapman has failed to prove his claim for
ineffective assistance because there was no breach of an
essential duty by trial counsel and, moreover, no prejudice.
We also conclude there is substantial evidence supporting
Chapman's convictions and the verdict is not contrary to
the weight of the evidence. We therefore affirm Chapman's
convictions and sentences.
 Chapman's statement to law
enforcement indicates that he, Schenk, and Huelsing all went
outside the mobile home, Chapman gave the gun back to Schenk,
Huelsing ran at Chapman, Chapman pushed him to the ground,
and Schenk shot Huelsing again.
 The first-degree arson charge was
later amended to second-degree arson.
 The jury instruction on aiding and
abetting also stated:
If the crime charged requires a specific intent,
before you can find the defendant "aided and
abetted" the commission of the crime, the State must
prove the defendant "aided and abetted" with
knowledge the others who directly committed the crime had
such specific intent. If the defendant did not have the
knowledge the others had such specific intent, he is not
guilty of aiding and abetting, the crime charged.
 Chapman argues the jury could have
found Chapman knew Schenk acted with specific intent but did
not know Schenk acted with malice aforethought because
Chapman could have believed Schenk was acting as a result of
his impaired mental state due to the use of methamphetamine.
We conclude such an argument is speculative at best.
Moreover, Chapman cites no Iowa authority in support of his
argument an individual cannot possess the requisite malice
aforethought while in an impaired mental state due to drug
use. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.903(2)(g)(3) ("An
argument containing the appellant's contentions and the
reasons for them with citations to the authorities relied on
. . . . Failure to cite authority in support of an issue may
be deemed waiver of that issue."). In fact, evidence in
the record supports the opposite conclusion. Defense expert
Dr. Cynthia J. Paul was asked, "So someone that's
using methamphetamine, in general, still can have the
capacity to form specific intent?" She responded,
 At the time of Schenk's trial,
Dains had entered pleas pursuant to a plea agreement to
burglary in the second degree and accessory after the fact
and was in custody but was awaiting sentencing.