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State v. Kelso-Christy

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL CORY KELSO-CHRISTY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Gregory A. Hulse, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Bower, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Michael Kelso-Christy appeals his conviction for second-degree burglary, in violation of Iowa Code section 713.5 (2015). Kelso-Christy asserts there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction; specifically, he asserts his impersonation of another person did not satisfy the element of intent to commit sexual abuse because the sex act he intended when he entered the victim's home was a consensual sex act. Because Kelso-Christy's impersonation of another person who was known to the victim amounts to fraud in fact, we conclude the victim's consent to the sex act was vitiated and Kelso-Christy's conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.

         Our review of a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is for the correction of errors at law. State v. Shorter, 893 N.W.2d 65, 70 (Iowa 2017).

The district court's finding of guilt is binding upon us unless we find there was not substantial evidence in the record to support such a finding. In determining whether there was substantial evidence, we review the record evidence in the light most favorable to the State. Substantial evidence means such evidence as could convince a rational trier of fact that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

State v. Dalton, 674 N.W.2d 111, 116 (Iowa 2004) (citation omitted).

         Kelso-Christy consented to a trial on the minutes of evidence. Those minutes provided the victim would testify:

[S]he was contacted by Facebook by an individual who represented that he was [a former classmate]. She will testify that she knew [the former classmate] from high school. She will testify that she engaged in numerous Facebook [messages] and texts with this person. She will testify that over time these messages turned sexual in nature. She will testify that she agreed to have sex with an individual she believed was [the former classmate]. She will testify that the nature of the sexual encounter involved blindfolding herself and being handcuffed by who she believed was [the former classmate]. She will testify that she invited this individual into her home and that he restrained her, had sexual intercourse, and abruptly left saying he had to go. This witness will testify that she consented to having sex with [the former classmate]. This witness will testify that she did not know that the defendant was impersonating [the former classmate], and that she did not consent to having sex on that date with anyone other than [the former classmate]. She will testify that she began to become suspicious when the person she had been communicating with stopped responding to her texts. She will also indicate that the Facebook page was no longer active. This witness will testify that she observed a condom wrapper which she moved to her bathroom trash can. This witness will testify that all of the events occurred in Marion County, Iowa, on April 26, 2015. She will testify she notified the police on April 27, 2015. She will testify that she did not consent to the defendant entering her home and did not consent to having sex with him.

         The minutes provided that Kelso-Christy's fingerprint was on the condom wrapper the victim found in her bedroom. In addition, minutes related to the former classmate of the victim stated he would testify:

[H]e has, on Facebook, an account. He will testify that he has not created a second account in his name. This witness will testify that he did not engage the victim in conversation at any time during this investigation or prior to it. He will testify that he has not been to the victim's home. He will testify that he did not have sex with the victim. He will testify he was made aware of this investigation by the Marion County Sheriff's office. This witness will testify that after being made aware ...

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