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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TRAVON JAMES JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea Dryer, Judge.

         Defendant appeals his convictions for first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent. AFFIRMED.

          Cathleen J. Siebrecht of Siebrecht Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant. Travon J. Jones, Anamosa, appellant pro se.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Travon Jones appeals his convictions for first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent. We find Jones's convictions were supported by substantial evidence. We conclude Jones has not shown he received ineffective assistance because defense counsel did not (1) object to the instructions on aiding and abetting and joint criminal conduct; (2) argue Jones could not be convicted of first-degree robbery under a theory of joint criminal conduct because a codefendant had been convicted of second-degree robbery; and (3) object to the State's use of a statement by the codefendant, who was excluded as a witness. Jones's other claims of ineffective assistance are preserved for possible postconviction proceedings.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On about December 19, 2014, there was a fight between Kenneth Weekley and Jonathon Reins at Reins's home, where he was living with his mother, Nicole Fordyce. Reins testified he beat up Weekley. He stated Weekley showed him a gun during this time period. The next day, December 20, Weekley, Darrion Morrissey, and Jones came to Fordyce's home, where Fordyce, Reins, and Marqwane Smith were present. There was an argument between Jones and Reins. Morrissey yelled at Fordyce and gestured at her with his fist. Smith pulled out a gun. Weekley, Morrissey, and Jones then left. Reins testified people were still angry.

         On December 22, at about 10:00 p.m., Fordyce heard glass breaking. She looked out of her bedroom and saw Weekley, Morrissey, and Jones creeping up the stairs. Fordyce told Reins and his girlfriend to hide in the bathroom. Jones asked Fordyce, "Where the f*ck is Jon?" but she stated she did not know. Fordyce testified she was afraid because she knew the three intruders sometimes carried guns. She went into her bedroom, locked the door, and called 911. The intruders went into Reins's bedroom and took an Xbox game system, a purse, and a cell phone. They then left the house and got into a white Oldsmobile Alero. From the street, one of the men fired at least four shots into Reins's bedroom with a .22 caliber handgun, leaving bullet holes in the wall above his bed.

         Shortly after midnight, Officer Kenneth Schaaf of the Waterloo Police Department saw the white Oldsmobile Alero at a gas station. After seeing Officer Schaaf, the vehicle left at a high rate of speed. The vehicle, driven by Jones, was eventually stopped. Weekley, Morrissey, and Tyvon Campbell were the passengers in the vehicle. Three .22 caliber shell casings were found in the vehicle. Jones, Weekley, and Morrissey were arrested.

         From jail, Jones called his girlfriend and stated, "If you get a chance, have our bro walk down the alley." Morrissey also provided officers with information leading them to discover a .22 caliber handgun hidden behind a trellis in an alley behind Jones's home. Ballistics analysis by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) showed the shell casings in the vehicle driven by Jones came from the handgun found by officers.

         During the criminal trial, Jones testified he did not have a dispute with Reins but stated Weekley and Reins "got into it a few times." He stated he went with Weekley and Morrissey to Fordyce's house on December 20 to "try to keep them out of trouble." Jones stated Reins and Weekley made up but Morrissey and Fordyce began yelling at each other. He testified he went to Fordyce's house with Weekley, Morrissey, and Campbell on December 22 because Smith asked him to meet Smith there and Jones was expecting an argument with Smith. Jones stated he did not know how the glass in the front door was broken. He stated he went inside the home, saw Fordyce, asked her where Reins was, then went back out to the car, which he had driven. Jones also testified he was completely taken by surprise by the gunshots.

         A jury found Jones guilty of robbery in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 711.2 (2014), burglary in the first degree, in violation of section 713.3, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent, in violation of section 708.6. The district court denied Jones's motion for a new trial. Jones was sentenced to terms of imprisonment not to exceed twenty-five years, ...


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