from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Timothy J.
defendant appeals his two convictions for first-degree murder
claiming counsel provided ineffective assistance, the trial
court improperly admitted a hearsay statement, and the court
abused its discretion in denying his motion for mistrial.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Bradley M. Bender,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Guy Henderson appeals his conviction for two counts of
first-degree murder, in violation of Iowa Code sections 707.1
and 707.2 (2013). On appeal, Henderson claims he received
ineffective assistance from counsel, the trial court
improperly admitted a hearsay statement, and the court abused
its discretion in denying his motion for mistrial. After
careful review, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
female decedent lived in a small community in Glidden. Her
neighbors testified they knew her daily routine of checking
her mail and taking her pets outside, and how she had a habit
of keeping her front gate closed. On May 18, 2014, the
neighbors noticed the female decedent's front gate
remained open all day, which was unusual. They walked from
their home across the way to the female decedent's home
and knocked on her front door.
knocking, the neighbors testified they yelled the female
decedent's name. The female decedent did not respond, but
they heard a dog barking, so one of the neighbors entered the
home and shouted for her again. When the neighbor entered,
she saw a body on the floor of the living room. The neighbor
testified she then backed out of the home. The other neighbor
then entered the home and, upon seeing a deceased body on the
floor, also left the home. The neighbors called 911, and
responding officers found two deceased persons in the
home-the male decedent in the living room and the female
decedent in a bedroom.
law enforcement and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations
investigated the scene and found neither signs of forced
entry into the home nor that a struggle had ensued inside.
They concluded that at least one of the victims must have
known the killer.
scene, officers recovered two weapons. First, they recovered
a "Yoshiblade" from a corner of the couch in the
living room where they found the male decedent. They also
recovered an additional knife's blade near the male
decedent's body. The knives both had blood on them.
also noticed the female decedent had a half-finished tattoo
on her leg. They consulted with a local tattoo artist who
opined the tattoo appeared to be recently done. Items related
to tattooing were located throughout the home.
the investigation and after speaking with neighbors,
investigators determined the last time it could be confirmed
both decedents were alive was on Friday, May 16. The male
decedent visited a local convenient store and appeared on the
store's surveillance camera at 7:25 p.m., and the female
decedent spoke with a relative on the phone at 9:48 p.m. Both
neighbors who discovered the bodies testified they saw a
dark-colored Pontiac car going and coming from the female
decedent's home on May 16 and 17. One neighbor testified
she saw two men, possibly teenagers, with dark hair and
clothing in the Pontiac. Neither neighbor testified they saw
Henderson at the female decedent's home. The neighbors
also testified they did not know the male decedent well
because he was not a frequent visitor to the female
after the murders, a runner and a horseback-rider separately
found two pieces of a wallet, later determined to belong to
the male decedent. The items were found in Lake City, on the
side of the road. This led investigators to look more closely
at Henderson, as his name had been mentioned during various
interviews and the wallet was located near his apartment
3, 2014, Special Agent Chad Fielder interviewed Henderson,
who admitted to knowing the female decedent. He told Fielder
he had been to the female decedent's home between nine
and thirteen times in the past to purchase marijuana from
another individual, but that he had stopped because he had
been "shorted" a few times. Fielder testified at
trial that during this interview with Henderson, he quickly
looked over Henderson's hands and exposed portions of his
body for any visible injuries but did not see any. Fielder
also testified Henderson did not express any anger or
animosity towards the female decedent or the individual who
"shorted" his marijuana purchases. Fielder also
noted there was no evidence Henderson knew the male decedent.
then searched Henderson's apartment twice. Officers
located an amateur tattoo kit containing similar needles as
those observed in the female decedent's home.
medical examiner performed autopsies on both decedents. The
autopsy determined the male decedent had defensive wounds and
died as a result of blunt-force trauma and sharp-force trauma
to his body. A portion of the Yoshiblade blade tip was also
found broken off in his skull. The female decedent also had
defensive wounds and died as a result of blunt-force trauma
to her head and neck region. It also showed she suffered
skull, wrist, and rib fractures.
knives seized from the home were tested for DNA. The handles
of both knives contained DNA that matched the known profile
24, 2014, Henderson was charged by trial information with two
counts of first-degree murder, to which Henderson pled not
guilty. Although he initially demanded a speedy trial, he
waived that right on July 11. The jury trial began on May 12,
2015, and the jury found Henderson guilty on both counts. The
court then sentenced Henderson to serve an indeterminate term
of imprisonment for the rest of his life for each charge and
ordered those sentences to run consecutively. Henderson was
also ordered to make restitution payments to the
decedents' estates, payments to the crime victim
compensation program and county, and reimbursement payments
for court costs and attorney fees.
filed his notice of appeal on July 6, 2015.