from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Myron L.
Wilson appeals from the judgment and sentence following a
jury verdict finding him guilty of sexual abuse in the second
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Goodhue,
GOODHUE, Senior Judge.
Levi Wilson appeals from the judgment and sentence following
a jury verdict finding him guilty of sexual abuse in the
Background Facts and Circumstances
daughter, M.W., reported that when she was eight years old
and traveling in Wilson's van, he asked her, "Do you
want to stop somewhere and have it." Thereafter, Wilson
stopped the van on a side road and told her to get in the
back bench of the van. Wilson followed her, unzipped his
shorts, exposed his penis, had her put her hand on it, and
told her to shake it like a bottle. M.W. observed "white
stuff" come from Wilson's penis. When a black truck
drove by the van, Wilson told M.W. they should leave. Wilson
retrieved a sock from the van, cleaned himself up with it,
and threw it out the window. Wilson asked her not to tell
anyone. However, when she was questioned on September 15,
2015, by Amanda Seymour, a Department of Human Services
worker, M.W. gave a rendition of the above events. Seymour
contacted Washington County Deputy Chad Ellis, and an
October 8, Seymour and Ellis conducted an interview of Wilson
at his father's home, where Wilson was living. It is the
nature of that interview with Wilson, conducted by Ellis,
that is an issue in this appeal. Wilson's father was
asked to leave the room prior to conducting the interview.
Ellis, who was dressed in street clothes, had a badge on his
belt and a firearm on his right side. Wilson had had prior
contact with Ellis as a law enforcement officer.
and Wilson first discussed Wilson's family concerns and
the extra burdens that had been placed on him because of his
wife's illness. Ellis falsely represented to Wilson a
witness who had driven by could identify Wilson. Ellis
questioned Wilson by conveying an attitude of empathy and
concern, saying such things as, "We're just trying
to understand, " and that he and Seymour wanted "to
get help" and "understand why it happened."
Ellis continued by saying they understood that "[t]hings
happen, man. We get it, " and he asked [Wilson] to
"[t]ell us why. Why you stopped." Wilson insisted
there was nothing to say. Ellis continued expressing empathy
and stating the family needed closure, that he and Seymour
were trying to get help for those that needed it, and that it
was for the family's good. Ellis suggested that
counseling and therapy were available. Ellis stated that he
knew Wilson was sad that it happened, that they could remove
the weight off of Wilson's shoulders, and that what had
happened had to be bugging Wilson. After continuing to go
through a narration of what Ellis thought had happened, Ellis
would express empathy by saying, "You are sad and wished
this hadn't happened." Ellis then asked Wilson if he
left the driver seat when he parked the van, and after a
period of silence, Wilson said they sat in the third seat of
the van. Finally, Wilson said M.W. touched him on the penis.
Ellis asked Wilson if she had been shaking it like a pop
bottle, and Wilson apparently responded affirmatively. Ellis
followed by asking, "So you had an erection?" and
asking whether he ejaculated. Wilson again responded
affirmatively. At that point, Ellis believed he had probable
cause to make an arrest and read Wilson his rights.
filed a motion to suppress the confession made at the
interview, alleging that Ellis induced his confession with
promises of leniency. The motion was overruled, and the
denial of the motion is the focus of Wilson's appeal.
rulings on motions to suppress preserve error for appellate
review. State v. Breuer, 5 ...