from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L.
defendant challenges his judgment and sentence for robbery in
the second degree. AFFIRMED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
Mathews challenges his conviction for robbery in the second
degree. On appeal, he contends the State failed to offer
adequate evidence to corroborate the testimony of several
accomplices. In addition, Mathews argues his trial counsel
was ineffective for failing to object to a
joint-criminal-conduct jury instruction. Because we find
sufficient corroboration and no prejudice from the submission
of the instruction, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
10:00 and 11:00 p.m. on October 16, 2014, S.Y. closed the
Waterloo grocery store she managed and walked to the parking
lot. Because she was talking to her sister on the phone, S.Y.
didn't notice the man with a gun standing near her car
until she was about to get inside. He pointed the gun at
S.Y., forced her to kneel, and took her keys, phone, and the
money she was carrying from the store. The man moved toward a
vehicle at a nearby street corner, and S.Y. ran for help.
eventually arrested Mathews, along with four other
individuals- Jimmy Robinson, Tammy Robinson, Jutaveus
Collett, and Trivansky Swington- for the crime, and the State
charged all five with second-degree robbery, a class
"C" felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 711.3
(2014). Deadlocked juries prompted two mistrials. The matter
came to trial for a third time on April 5, 2016. By that
time, all of the defendants but Mathews and Jimmy had entered
into plea agreements. Tammy, Swington, and Collett agreed to
testify as part of their plea agreements. In addition, the
State read into the record the prior testimony of Jimmy, who
had testified for the State at the first trial but refused to
testify at the April 2016 trial.
co-defendants detailed the events leading up to the robbery.
Tammy had worked at S.Y.'s grocery store, but in early
October 2014, after S.Y. caught Tammy stealing cash and
merchandise, S.Y. effectively ended Tammy's employment
and withheld a portion of her last paycheck. S.Y. also fired
Swington, who Tammy had hired at the grocery store without
S.Y.'s knowledge. Short on cash and angry, Tammy and her
husband, Jimmy, began planning to burglarize the grocery
store with Swington and Collett, who the Robinsons met
through Swington. Tammy would go to the store, open a side
door, and leave it unlatched to allow the others to enter
later in the evening. Mathews, the brother of Collett's
girlfriend, Ariel, was the last to join the schemers.
According to Swington, Mathews enthusiastically accepted
Ariel's invitation to "hit a lick, " which
Swington explained meant to "rob or burglarize."
did not unfold as originally planned. Tammy opened the
store's side door and returned home. But Collett, Jimmy,
and Mathews, the three who were plotting to enter the store,
abandoned the pursuit before stealing anything.Collett returned
from the grocery store with Jimmy and Mathews, told Swington
the door was closed, and directed Swington to "[g]o get
Betsy, " the nickname for Swington's BB gun that
resembled a real small caliber handgun. Jimmy remembered
Mathews saying: "[M]ight as well rob the girl."
When Swington returned, Mathews took charge of the gun and,
along with Jimmy and Collett, walked toward the store to rob
S.Y. Swington stayed with his vehicle, acting as a lookout,
and when the three men returned with cash, he drove them to
the apartment where Mathews had been staying with his mother
and sister. Collett, Swington, Jimmy, and Mathews split the
money amongst themselves, each netting approximately $100.
arrived at the robbery scene and spoke with S.Y. and two
employees of the grocery store. After learning of Tammy's
presence in the store that evening, police officers
interviewed her. Tammy implicated Swington, Collett, and
Jimmy; Jimmy added Mathews to the list. Police officers
located Collett and Mathews in the Mathews's apartment.
They later discovered S.Y.'s cell phone and
Swington's BB gun in an empty apartment across the hall.
All of the suspects admitted involvement with the robbery
the close of the evidence, the court instructed the jury it
could find Mathews guilty either as a principal, an aider and
abettor, or under a joint-criminal-conduct theory. In a
general verdict, the jury found Mathews guilty of
second-degree robbery. The court sentenced Mathews to an