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State v. Chandler

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TYLER Q. CHANDLER, Defendant-Appellant.

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

         A defendant appeals his conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the sentence imposed. AFFIRMED.

          Jacob L. Mason of JL Mason Law, PLLC, Ankeny, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Tyler Chandler appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery, in violation of Iowa Code sections 711.1 and 711.2 (2014). He asserts there was insufficient evidence of his identity and the court abused its discretion in ordering his sentence to be served consecutively to a term of incarceration he was serving in Indiana.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Chandler traveled to Iowa from Indiana in April 2014 with two friends, Charles Jenkins and Andrew Hodges. The three made the trip to Iowa with Waterloo residents, Jesse Mathews and his girlfriend, Monika Bray. Chandler, Jenkins, and Hodges stayed with Mathews and Bray in their Waterloo apartment, and every member of the group was unemployed at the time.

         On the evening of April 23, 2014, Bray saw the four men-Chandler, Jenkins, Hodges, and Mathews-leave the house together. She testified the men had two firearms and they always left the residence with the guns on their person. That night, the group did not return to her home but instead left town to travel back to Indiana with no notice to Bray. However, Bray saw on social media that a robbery had taken place at the local Burger King the night of April 23. Bray next saw Mathews three or four days later when he threw money at her.

         The employees of the Burger King testified that on the night of the robbery, a man entered the restaurant shortly before closing time and ordered a meal. The employees proceeded to conduct the regular closing duties and noticed the customer leave the lobby with a to-go bag for his food. Fifteen or twenty minutes after the customer left, three armed men entered the restaurant, assaulted the employees, and demanded money. After they obtained cash drawers from the office, the three men left out the back door of the restaurant, dropping change as they went. The employees called the police.

         While the employees were waiting for the police to arrive, they noticed the to-go bag of food that had been served to the customer earlier had been crumpled up and was holding the emergency, drive-thru door open. Surveillance video confirmed that the three assailants entered through the same drive-thru door. The to-go bag was given to police, who tested the leftover food inside the bag for DNA. The testing confirmed the person who ate the food was Jenkins.

         During the course of the investigation, the police obtained a search warrant for the cell phone records of Chandler and Hodges. The text messages near the time of the robbery indicate the person using Chandler's cell phone was inside the restaurant communicating to the person using Hodges's cell phone descriptions of the employees and providing confirmation as to when would be a good time to enter the restaurant and which door to use.

         Police traveled to Indiana to interview Chandler. He initially denied being in Iowa at the time of the robbery and also denied loaning his cell phone to anyone. After Chandler was confronted with the evidence that his cell phone was used the night of the robbery in Waterloo, he asked, "Can we start over?" Chandler then went on to explain he was in Waterloo in ...


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