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State v. Mothershed

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 24, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ISAIAH THOMAS PAUL MOTHERSHED, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his convictions for four counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of attempted murder following a jury trial.

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

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by: Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.

         A group of individuals committed four robberies in Sioux City. Shots were fired during one of the four robberies, and a police officer involved in apprehending suspects was shot following the fourth robbery.

         The State charged Isaiah Thomas Paul Mothershed with several crimes. A jury found him guilty of four counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of attempted murder. On appeal, Mothershed contends (1) insufficient evidence supported the finding of guilt on one of the attempted murder counts and (2) his trial attorney was ineffective in failing to seek severance of the four robbery counts.

         I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         The jury was instructed the State would have to prove the following elements on the first count of attempted murder:

(1) On or about February 5, 2016, in Woodburry County Iowa, Isaiah Mothershed fired or discharged a firearm, (2) By this action, Isaiah Mothershed expected to set in motion a force or chain of events which would cause or result in the death of Andrea Mann, and (3) When he discharged the firearm, Isaiah Mothershed had the specific intent to cause the death of Andrea Mann.

         Mothershed challenges the evidence supporting the third, specific intent element. He argues "the evidence at most shows that [he] merely wanted to scare [Ms. Mann], " "[t]here was no indication of how close she really was to getting hit, " and "testimony from [an accomplice] further suggests [he] did not intend to cause [Ms. Mann's] death."

         Specific intent was defined for the jury as "not only being aware of doing an act and doing it voluntarily; but, in addition, doing it with a specific purpose in mind." The jury was further instructed:

Because determining a person's specific intent requires you to decide what he or she was thinking when an act was done, it is seldom capable of direct proof. Therefore, you should consider the facts and circumstances surrounding the act to determine the person's specific intent. You may, but are not ...

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