from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Todd A.
appeals his conviction for murder in the first degree.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Martha J. Lucey,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Tronca appeals his conviction for murder in the first degree.
We find the district court did not err in denying
Tronca's motion to suppress. Also, Tronca has not shown
the police department lacked reasonable standardized
procedures for the impoundment of the car and the impoundment
was for the purpose of investigating criminal activity, so
the impoundment is not unconstitutional. Additionally, Tronca
has not shown he received ineffective assistance due to
defense counsel's failure to raise a claim under the Iowa
Constitution there had been an improper pretextual stop. We
preserve for possible postconviction proceedings Tronca's
claim of ineffective assistance due to the failure to
challenge the seizure of his business building. We affirm
Tronca's conviction for first-degree murder.
Background Facts & Proceedings
September 9, 2014, Waterloo police officers received a
missing person report for Ronald Randall. The officers were
aware Randall was friends with Curtis Radamacher and
Radamacher was often present at AJT Auto, an auto body shop
owned by Tronca. There was also information methamphetamine
was being distributed from the business and Tronca owned
firearms. Additionally, officers received information Randall
was last seen at AJT Auto and there had been a shooting at
went to AJT Auto in an attempt to locate Radamacher. In
addition to wanting to talk to Radamacher about the missing
person case, there was a warrant for Radamacher's arrest
for probation violations. Tronca came to the door and told
the officers he did not know Radamacher. The officers said
they were not concerned about what was going on at the
business, "so anything beyond a dead body, we're not
concerned about." Tronca responded, "[T]hat's
why I'm not going to let you in here." The officers
left without contacting Radamacher.
September 11, 2014, Elvis Medrano, who was cooperating with
the police, told Officer Jeffrey Zubak that Radamacher would
be present at a specific address. Officers set up
surveillance at the home. They observed Radamacher and Tronca
come out of the house. Tronca put a dark-colored bag into the
trunk of an Oldsmobile Alero, and then he drove away in the
vehicle with Radamacher as a passenger.
officers decided to stop the vehicle, knowing there was an
arrest warrant for Radamacher. A marked police car behind the
Alero activated its lights, but the Alero did not stop right
away. Officer Joseph Saunders saw movement in the vehicle and
thought the occupants were "possibly trying to hide
something." When the vehicle was stopped, Radamacher had
a backpack between his feet, which he threw into the
backseat. Radamacher was not compliant with officers'
requests and was arrested for probation violations and
interference with official acts. He was transported to the
officers determined the Alero was registered to Tronca's
wife, Jennifer Tronca. The officers discovered Tronca's
driver's license had been suspended, and he was arrested
for driving while license suspended. Tronca was also
transported to the police station. He did not ask for anyone
else to pick up the
Officer Jeffrey Tyler determined the vehicle should be towed
to the impound lot. He stated this was based partially on the
traffic stop, but also because officers wanted to look
further into the missing person case. Officer Tyler stated
there was no one to drive the vehicle from the scene because
both the driver and passenger had been arrested.
police dog sniffed around the vehicle at the impound lot and
alerted to narcotics. Officers obtained a search warrant for
the vehicle. They found methamphetamine, a .380 Lorcin
handgun, and ammunition for a .45 firearm.
later told officers he, Tronca, and Randall had been smoking
methamphetamine on September 2, 2014, in a room at AJT Auto
used to paint vehicles, when Tronca asked Randall if Randall
had sex with Tronca's girlfriend, Jessica Ogden. Tronca
did not wait for a response before Tronca shot Randall three
to five times. Valerie Vandervort was present in the building
and heard the shots. Radamacher told her Tronca shot Randall.
Tronca told Ogden what he had done. Radamacher and Ogden
helped Tronca remove the body, cover it with plastic, and
dump it in a remote location. Tronca had the paint ...