Submitted: May 12, 2017
from United States District Court for the District of
Nebraska - Lincoln
RILEY, BEAM, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
on supervised release following a prison term for his 2009
bank robbery conviction, Curtis Cotton was found to have
violated the terms of his supervision by committing assault,
in violation of Iowa Code section 708.1(2)(c). The district
court revoked Cotton's supervision and
sentenced him to twenty-four months in prison. Cotton
challenges the sufficiency of the government's evidence.
Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.
was sentenced to sixty months imprisonment and three years
supervised release after pleading guilty to bank robbery in
2009. He began his supervised release on September 16, 2015.
Relevant to the present case, the supervised release included
the following terms: (1) "The defendant shall not commit
another federal, state or local crime"; and (2)
"The defendant shall not possess a firearm, destructive
device, or any other dangerous weapon." On November 10,
2015, Cotton's probation officer filed a petition
alleging that Cotton violated these two mandatory conditions.
1:55 a.m. on October 26, 2015, Ryan Storey exited the
Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with approximately
$8000 in baccarat winnings. As Storey retrieved his overnight
luggage from his truck in a hotel parking lot adjacent to the
casino, an armed assailant ran toward Storey shouting
"hold up, " coming within five to ten feet of
Storey and pointing a large silver handgun at him. Storey
jumped back, shouted loudly, and ran into the hotel office.
The assailant ran in the opposite direction. The encounter
lasted 10 to 15 seconds.
identified Cotton as the assailant. Cotton admitted that he
was at the Horseshoe Casino that night and that he made
contact with Storey while in the casino. Storey testified
that while he played baccarat with several thousand dollars
in chips in public view, Cotton lingered behind him and hung
around asking questions. Storey testified that Cotton stood
out to him because he was just "moseying around the
casino, " was lingering behind him, and was not
gambling. Storey remembered conversing with Cotton at the
surveillance video shows that Cotton exited the casino with
Bronson Birdow through the same door as Storey about 20
seconds ahead of him and got into a black Chevrolet Avalanche
pickup truck waiting just outside the casino doors driven by
a third unidentified individual. Storey walked past the truck
carrying a pizza as he exited the casino. Casino parking lot
video shows that the black truck containing Cotton followed
Storey at a distance with its lights off as Storey walked to
his vehicle. The same black truck is seen on the video
following Storey's vehicle leaving the casino parking
lot. Storey made the very short drive to the Country Inn and
Suites adjacent to the casino. The "hold up"
incident occurred after Storey checked in at the hotel desk
and returned to his vehicle in the hotel parking lot to
retrieve his overnight luggage.
testified that he recognized Cotton as the assailant because
of his eyes, voice, short stature, gait, and clothes-which he
remembered from their interaction and his observations of
Cotton earlier at the casino. Cotton claims that he went
straight home from the casino, but called no witnesses to
support that assertion.
district court found "by the greater weight of the
evidence" that Cotton pointed a handgun at Storey in the
parking lot that night, committing assault in violation of
Iowa state law. The district court, therefore, found Cotton
guilty of both violations since he broke an Iowa law and
possessed a firearm. The district court sentenced Cotton to
twenty-four months imprisonment followed by an additional
year of supervised release.
appeals the district court's revocation of his supervised
release and its finding that he violated the terms and
conditions of his ...