from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J.
defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for
first-degree murder in violation of Iowa Code section 707.2
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Melinda J. Nye,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Doyle, P.J., McDonald, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]
Ernst II appeals his conviction for murder in the first
degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.2 (2015),
arising out of the shooting of Orintheo Campbell, Jr. At
trial, Ernst claimed he shot Campbell in self-defense. The
jury rejected Ernst's defense and found him guilty as
charged. Ernst raises several challenges to his conviction
and sentence in this direct appeal.
record reflects the following. On the evening of December 5,
2014, Ernst rented a white Lincoln MKX in Cedar Rapids and
drove to Waterloo accompanied by his friend Iviontae Jackson.
Around 1:00 a.m., Jackson and Ernst met up with friends
Shaumara Taylor and Katie Werner. For a reason never resolved
at trial, the group stopped at a local convenience store. At
the convenience store, Taylor got in a physical fight with a
woman, Angela Norris, who had arrived at the convenience
store in another car. Campbell was also at the convenience
store. Campbell and his friends stopped to watch the fight
between Taylor and Norris. One of Campbell's friends
called other people about the fight; before long, there was a
group of over fifteen people surrounding the combatants.
Ernst testified he did not know anyone in this crowd except
his three friends. The fight was recorded by the store's
fight between Taylor and Norris subsided after members of the
crowd intervened. However, after several minutes, the two
began fighting again. The second fight was not in the view of
the security camera. What happened next is the subject of
to the State's witnesses, one of the bystanders, the
father of Norris's child, tried to pull Taylor away from
Norris. There was a verbal argument between some of the men
watching the fight, Ernst fired his handgun, and Campbell was
shot and killed. None of the State's witnesses observed
any physical fighting between the men.
to Ernst, Ernst saw a man push Taylor in an attempt to break
up the fight. Ernst then grabbed Taylor to drag her away from
the fight. As Ernst dragged Taylor away from the fight, she
continued to argue with the man who had pushed her. As Ernst
approached his car, he heard a cocking sound, turned, and saw
two men with their hands at their waists. Ernst testified he
held up his hand and said, "Stop, this is just a girl
fight. This ain't got nothing to do with me." One of
the men, later identified as Campbell, allegedly replied,
"No, fuck that. I'm Crip. I'm on that."
Campbell then punched Ernst in the jaw, stepped back, and
reached toward his belt. Ernst had a permit to carry a
concealed weapon and had a gun on his person. Ernst pulled
out his handgun and fired five shots at Campbell at close
range. Ernst claims he aimed low to disable Campbell but
recoil forced the gun higher. Ernst stopped firing when he
saw Campbell put his hand to his chest. Ernst and his three
friends fled the scene.
Ernst fled the scene, Campbell's friends drove Campbell
to a local hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after
arrival at 1:51 a.m. Campbell had been shot twice, once in
the chest and once in the neck. Meanwhile, Ernst returned to
Taylor's apartment for roughly thirty minutes before
leaving town with Jackson. Ernst went to Dubuque to visit a
female friend. He then drove to Davenport to visit his
sister. Finally, he returned to Cedar Rapids. The State
alleged Ernst attempted to evade police for some period of
time after the shooting. Ernst denied ...