from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, John D.
Olis appeals from his convictions for willful injury causing
serious injury and assault.
Michael K. Williams of the Law of Office of Michael Williams,
Hinton, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
Olis appeals from his convictions following a jury trial for
willful injury causing serious injury, a class "C"
forcible felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.4(1)
(2016), and assault, a simple misdemeanor, in violation of
section 708.1. Olis asserts the trial court erred in denying
his motion for a new trial on the grounds the verdict is
contrary to the weight of the evidence and contends defense
counsel failed to render effective assistance. We conclude
the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the
motion for new trial, and we preserve the
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims for possible
postconviction-relief proceedings. We affirm the conviction
for willful injury causing serious injury, and we dismiss the
appeal from the simple misdemeanor assault conviction for
failure to seek and obtain discretionary review of that
Background Facts & Proceedings.
matter arose on the night of March 5, 2016, at the home of
Randy McKee and Debra Ross. Olis, his ex-girlfriend Tammy
Drake, and their minor son were visiting for the weekend.
McKee, Ross, Olis, and Drake had been drinking for most of
the day. That night a dispute occurred between Olis and McKee
in the garage of the home. Each testified to a different
version of the events at trial.
testified Olis was upset by the tone of voice McKee used in
speaking with Drake and Olis threw McKee to the garage floor
and kicked him. McKee admitted he then obtained a baseball
bat, hit a dresser with the bat once, exited the garage, and
hit the bat against a tree, splitting the bat in half. McKee
testified Olis followed him outside and stated, "I'm
going to teach you a lesson for grabbing a bat." McKee
stated he then felt a great pain on the back of his head.
McKee touched the painful spot and realized he was bleeding.
McKee testified he then felt another blow to the right side
of his head.
testified that after he knocked McKee to the garage floor
McKee was angry, obtained the baseball bat, and hit the
dresser and other items in the garage. Olis stated McKee then
began walking toward Olis with the bat in his hand so Olis
"dove at his legs and we wrestled and proceeded to-we
started in the corner of the garage and we ended up right
outside the door." Olis contended that while outside he
and McKee continued wrestling, McKee was on top of Olis, and
Olis grabbed the baseball bat and swung it, hitting McKee in
self-defense. Olis testified McKee was still on top of him so
he struck McKee with the baseball bat again to free himself
from the tussle.
testified she came outside when she heard a loud male voice
and saw both McKee and Olis standing. Olis was holding an
object, and McKee was holding his head. Ross later discovered
the object Olis was holding was a piece of the baseball bat.
his injuries, McKee was flown to the hospital. McKee received
staples to treat the injury to the back of his head. McKee
testified at trial he is now deaf in his right ear due to
being struck by the second blow.
Jary Vermeys conducted an interview of Olis at the jail.
Deputy Vermeys stated Olis admitted he hit McKee with the
baseball bat. Deputy Vermeys testified ...