from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County,
Kathleen A. Kilnoski, Judge.
defendant appeals her conviction for murder in the second
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria L. Ruhtenberg,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kelli A. Huser, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Mullins, J., and Goodhue,
GOODHUE, Senior Judge.
Marie Sherman appeals from the trial court's refusal to
grant her motion for a new trial after a bench trial finding
her guilty of second-degree murder. We affirm the decision of
the district court.
Background Facts and Proceedings
4, 2014, Sherman and Douglas Richt were seated in Richt's
car at 3501 5th Avenue in Council Bluffs. Neighbors in the
area heard them arguing, and one testified that she saw
Sherman punch the driver in the jaw with a backhanded motion.
Sherman emerged from the car, cursing Richt in the process.
Richt moved around a little bit in the car and then got out
on the driver's side, holding his neck and yelling,
"That bitch stabbed me." He staggered on the steps
of a nearby home and collapsed. Richt died of a stab wound to
walked away from the car and was heard to say something about
being kidnapped. John Carlson, a friend of Sherman's, was
working on a car in the neighborhood and followed her as she
walked down the street after the stabbing. He asked her why
she did it, and she talked about being held against her will,
being kidnapped, and somebody wanting to have sex with dead
people. She finally told him to leave her alone. Later, a
bloody knife with a twelve-inch blade was found in the car.
The blood was tested and found to match Richt's. A 1.75
liter bottle labeled Peppermint Schnapps, with about two
inches of clear liquid remaining, was found in the car. No
tests were performed on the remaining liquid. Richt's
body tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamine.
Council Bluffs police arrived at the scene and observed
Carlson following Sherman. Officer Miranda Adams got out of
her car, displayed her weapon, and asked Sherman to stop and
get on the ground with her arms spread out to her sides.
Sherman complied. Sherman told Adams, "He kidnapped me,
" and wanted to know what she was going to do about it.
Adams considered Sherman's bizarre behavior as a possible
sign of intoxication, but neither she nor any other officer
smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage or performed any
sobriety tests on Sherman. Another officer arrived, and
Sherman was handcuffed. Before Adams could take Sherman to
the station for interrogation, she slipped out of the
handcuffs. Adams had to handcuff her again with a smaller
was taken to the police station and interviewed approximately
one hour after Richt had been stabbed. She swore at the
female officers who were attempting to remove her
bloodstained clothing. They were having difficulty swabbing
her hands, when Sherman logically advised them it would be
easier if they removed her handcuffs. Sherman wanted to know
from the officers why "you guys" were not getting
those 911 calls, why 911 calls were being intercepted, and
what had happened to the two towers. The interrogating
officer, Mark Elonich, asked whether she was "talking
about NYC." She replied, "No, here in Iowa."
Officer Elonich thought she was intoxicated or under the
influence of something. The interrogation was recorded but
ended within a few minutes when Sherman requested an
attorney. Sherman was charged with first-degree murder.
in jail and soon after her arrest, Sherman heard voices,
thought people could read her mind, and did not believe Richt
was dead. Dr. Ivan Delgado, a psychiatrist, examined her and
diagnosed her with schizophrenia. Dr. Cynthia Paul, a
psychiatrist, examined her three times during the first
fifteen days after her arrest and reviewed the videotape of
Sherman's interrogation. Dr. Paul diagnosed Sherman with
psychosis, not otherwise specified, which she described as a
thought disorder characterized by prominent delusions and
hallucinations. Sherman was found not to be competent to
stand trial. She was sent to Oakdale for restoration of her
competency by an order entered October 7, 2014. On November
22, 2014, a ...