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State v. Morgan

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 21, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KERRY B. MORGAN JR., Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary and domestic abuse assault. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Kerry Morgan Jr. appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary and domestic abuse assault-strangulation with injury. We find there is substantial evidence to support the convictions and affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Morgan and G.T. were previously in a relationship and were the parents of a child. They did not live together. G.T. lived in a two-story house with her friend, Allison Wuerzberger, and Allison's mother, Debbie.

         On February 20, 2016, at about 5:20 a.m., Allison and Debbie were awakened when they heard G.T. screaming. Debbie, who had the bedroom below G.T.'s, stated she heard G.T. yelling, "Kerry, stop, Kerry, stop. If you leave now, nobody is going to call the police, just leave. You're hurting me." Debbie heard Morgan say, "If I had my gun, you would be dead right now." Allison peeked into G.T.'s bedroom and saw Morgan standing close to G.T. There was another man in the room, who seemed in a hurry to leave. After Allison closed the door, she heard "four thuds, which sounded like fists being-like someone was being hit." Allison called 911. While talking to the dispatcher, she noticed the glass window in the front door was broken. Allison testified that as she was talking to the dispatcher, Morgan came downstairs, offered her $100 to fix the broken door-which she refused, then he went back to G.T.'s room.

         Police officers arrived shortly thereafter, and Allison let them into the house. When they entered G.T.'s bedroom, they saw Morgan standing close to G.T., who was nude, crying, and hysterical. They observed G.T. "had a lot of redness all over her body, on her face, neck, arms, stomach, and her breast. She also had an abrasion to her left breast, her right eye, and both arms." G.T. told the officers Morgan punched her multiple times, choked her with his hands so her breathing was not normal, and put his fingers in her vagina. G.T. made similar statements to an emergency medical technician. Debbie later found a crowbar outside the home.

         Morgan told officers he was upset because he discovered G.T. was having sex with another man. He stated he yelled and screamed at G.T. and she was scared of him. He admitted he threatened to kill G.T. but stated he did not mean it. Morgan stated he believed G.T. was engaged in sex work and advertising her services online and he was frustrated because she had not responded to his calls or texts for two weeks. Morgan also stated he believed G.T. was buying drugs with money he gave her for other purposes.

         Morgan was charged with burglary in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 713.3(2) (2016), and domestic abuse assault-strangulation with injury, in violation of section 708.2A(5). At Morgan's criminal trial, G.T. testified she made plans with Morgan for him to visit her on the night of February 20, 2016, but when he did not show up by 2:00 a.m., she asked another man, Justin, [1] to come over. G.T. stated she had sexual relations with Justin and he caused the red marks on her body. She testified Justin was in her room when Morgan showed up and, despite this, she let Morgan into the house. She stated Morgan yelled at her and pushed her into a chair ...


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