from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Sean W.
Perry appeals the judgment and sentence entered following his
convictions of first-degree arson and first-degree criminal
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Melinda J. Nye,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Scott, S.J.
Perry appeals the judgment and sentence entered after a jury
found him guilty of first-degree arson and first-degree
criminal mischief. He challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence to support his convictions and argues the jury
initially returned inconsistent verdicts. Because substantial
evidence supports the verdicts and no inconsistency has been
shown, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and his girlfriend lived together in Perry's apartment in
Cedar Rapids. When his girlfriend told him she was leaving
him, Perry twice threatened to "torch" her
belongings. About five or ten minutes after he made his
second threat to set fire to her things, black smoke was seen
coming out of an apartment window. A fire, which began in the
back bedroom of the apartment, eventually engulfed the entire
apartment, causing over $63, 000 in damage to the building.
Neighbors pulled Perry from the burning apartment and
observed him to be intoxicated, as did emergency responders
when they arrived at the scene.
State charged Perry with first-degree arson and first-degree
criminal mischief. At his trial, the court instructed the
jury on the elements of first-degree arson under count I, as
well as its less-included offenses of second-degree arson,
third-degree arson, and reckless use of fire. The jury
initially returned a verdict finding Perry guilty of two
offenses under count I: first-degree arson and reckless use
of fire. The jury also returned a verdict finding Perry
guilty of first-degree criminal mischief under count II.
Concluding the jury misunderstood the law, the court
instructed the jury it "may use only one form of verdict
under each count, " and resubmitted the case. The jury
then returned a verdict finding Perry guilty of first-degree
arson under count I, in addition to its finding of guilt on
count II, the criminal-mischief charge.
moved for a new trial, arguing the jury's initial two
verdicts on count I were inconsistent. After denying the
motion, the court sentenced Perry to a twenty-five-year term
of incarceration on count I and a ten-year term of
incarceration on count II, ordering that they run
concurrently, and imposed a fine on count II, which it
appeals. He argues there is insufficient evidence to support
his convictions. He also alleges the jury's initial
verdict finding him guilty of two charges under count I shows
its verdict is legally inconsistent and, therefore, the court
erred in returning the matter to the jury for further
Sufficiency of the Evidence.
review claims regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to
support a conviction for correction of errors at law. See
State v. Truesdell, 679 N.W.2d 611, 615 (Iowa 2004). In
reviewing such claims, we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to upholding the verdict, making all inferences
that may be reasonably deduced from the evidence. See
id. We affirm if substantial evidence-that is,
"evidence that a rational trier of ...