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State v. Reed

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MONTEL CURTIS REED, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark J. Smith (trial) and Mark D. Cleve (sentencing), Judges.

         The defendant appeals his convictions for possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by felon and assault with a dangerous weapon.

          Thomas J. O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law Firm, Bettendorf, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Montel Reed appeals his convictions for count I, possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by felon, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.26(1) (2016), and count II, assault with a dangerous weapon, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.2(3). He argues the evidence was insufficient to support the court's verdict after a bench trial. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On April 20, 2016, Montel Reed drove Donarease Lawless and two other passengers to Linda Bailey's house in a black Chevy Impala. When they arrived, Lawless and Reed got out of the car. Lawless approached the house and Reed stayed back near the sidewalk in the front yard of the house. Bailey, the owner of the house, and her daughter, Wakeytha Smith, were sitting in a screened-in porch in the front of the house.

         According to testimony from Smith and Bailey, Lawless was looking for Smith's brother-who allegedly struck Lawless's sister. Lawless walked up to Bailey's front door and asked for Smith's brother to come outside and talk to him about the incident. Smith's brother was not present, and after a discussion between Lawless and Smith, Lawless threatened to strike her in the face. Smith retreated inside the house and called the police. Reed and Lawless left in the vehicle.

         Meanwhile, Ashaie Frison, Bailey's daughter and Smith's sister, received a phone call from Smith about the interactions with Lawless, according to Frison's testimony. Frison went to her mother's house where she joined Bailey and Smith. Sometime after the initial confrontation, Frison saw the black Chevy Impala approach the house again, and she recognized Reed as the driver. She also saw "Mr. Lawless with the window [down] and he was waving something. . . . At first I didn't know what it was because they was still coming." However, as the car passed in front of the house, she recognized the item Lawless was pointing at the house-"a black handgun." Reed drove the car slowly down the street and made a prolonged stop at an intersection without a stop sign near the house. Frison saw the license plate of the black Chevy Impala and instructed Smith to call the police. Reed's car remained stopped near the house until shortly before the police arrived.

         Officer Craig Burkle testified that he received a call about a disturbance involving a gun where the suspects left the scene in a black Chevy Impala. Burkle discovered the black Chevy Impala on the way to the scene and confirmed the license plate number matched Reed's vehicle. Burkle testified he followed the vehicle, identified Reed as the driver, and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. In response, Reed "gunned the gas pedal" and "took off at a high rate of speed, " according to Burkle.

         After a chase through the back alleys of Davenport, Reed and Lawless stopped the vehicle and fled on foot. Reed and Lawless were apprehended shortly thereafter, and the officer identified Reed as the driver. With the help of a police dog trained to track human scent, Sergeant James Garrard then located a loaded firearm under a shed owned by an unrelated party. The shed was located several blocks from the Bailey residence and Reed's car. Reed and Lawless were arrested.

         On May 11, 2016, Reed was charged by trial information with the following crimes: count I, possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by felon, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.26(1); count II, assault with a dangerous weapon, in violation of section 708.2(3); count III, possession of marijuana, in violation of section 124.401(5); and, count IV, eluding, in violation of section 321.279(1). Reed pled not guilty to the charges and signed a written waiver of his jury trial rights. The court found Reed ...


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