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State v. Thornburg

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DUSTIN TURNER LEE THORNBURG, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mary E. Howes, Judge.

         The defendant appeals from his convictions following his guilty pleas to stalking and lascivious acts with a child. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

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

          Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Dustin Thornburg appeals from his convictions following his guilty pleas to stalking and lascivious acts with a child, as an habitual offender.[1] Thornburg maintains neither his guilty pleas to stalking and lascivious acts with a child nor his admission to prior felonies were entered voluntarily and intelligently. He also claims there was not a factual basis to support his guilty plea for stalking.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On December 30, 2015, the State filed a trial information charging Thornburg with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse (FECR374425). The allegations supporting the charges involved claims that Thornburg had sexually abused G.T., an eight-year-old child. The trial information was later amended to include the charge of lascivious acts with a child. It was alleged that Thornburg was an habitual offender.

         The mother, Jennifer, obtained a no-contact order, preventing Thornburg from having any contact with her or G.T.

         Between January 2016 and June 2016, Jennifer had a number of instances where someone attempted to gain entry into her various accounts, including her phone and her social media. She received a number of phone calls from blocked numbers that left no messages or-when she did answer-where no one spoke to her. She also received text messages from various numbers she did not recognize. The substance of some of the messages indicated the sender could see Jennifer, including times the sender asked who she had been speaking with directly after she hung up from a phone call or times that the sender stated they were close by and told her a location that was, in fact, near where she then was. Jennifer recognized some of the speech patterns or statements as ones Thornburg had made to her in the past, and she believed it was Thornburg who was behind all of the contact. Other instances that could be traced back to Thornburg included a time when Jennifer spoke to her mother about G.T. struggling at softball, and within an hour, Thornburg had ordered G.T. a new bat to be delivered to Jennifer's previous home.[2] Additionally, Jennifer once met with Thornburg's brother and rode with him in his car, Thornburg- driving his sister's vehicle-chased them, attempted to hit their car, and tried to force them off the road. He only stopped after one of the tires on his sister's vehicle went flat.[3]

         A second trial information was filed, and Thornburg was charged with stalking and assault by use or display of a dangerous weapon (FECR377209).

         In September 2016, a jury trial on the charges of stalking and assault commenced. On the third morning of trial, Thornburg reached a plea agreement with the State. Thornburg entered guilty pleas to stalking and lascivious acts with a child, as an habitual offender. He also pled guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon. The State dismissed both counts of sexual abuse in the second degree. Additionally, Thornburg agreed the sentence from FECR374425 would run consecutive to the sentences from FECR377209. Thornburg was sentenced pursuant to the agreement at a later date. He appeals.

         II. ...


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