from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey A.
Schroeder appeals from judgment and sentences entered upon
his convictions for first-degree murder, going armed with
intent as a habitual offender, and being a felon in
possession of a firearm as a habitual offender.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Mary K. Conroy,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
Schroeder appeals from his convictions for murder in the
first degree, going armed with intent as a habitual offender,
and being a felon in possession of a firearm as a habitual
offender. Schroeder argues (1) trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to challenge the corroboration of testimony by
his wife, (2) the court erred in failing to redact statements
from his recorded interview with law enforcement, and (3) his
stipulation to the habitual-offender sentencing enhancements
was procedurally faulty and, thus, not knowing and voluntary.
ineffectiveness claim fails because he cannot prove the
claimed breaches of duty resulted in prejudice. We find no
abuse of discretion in the extent Schroeder's recorded
interview was redacted. Finally, while the convictions for
going armed with intent and for being a felon in possession
of a firearm are supported by substantial evidence, because
the court ordered the sentences imposed upon those
convictions are to be served consecutive to the
life-without-parole (LWOP) sentence, and there is a
possibility a LWOP sentence could be commuted or the
conviction overturned notwithstanding our decision, we
reverse Schroeder's stipulation to being a habitual
offender and remand for further proceedings on the sentencing
enhancement and resentencing on the convictions for going
armed with intent and being a felon in possession of a
Background Facts and Proceedings.
about 7:00 a.m. on January 9, 2015, Nicole Gray's
seventeen-year-old neighbor entered Gray's home to care
for her pets while Gray and her children were out of the
country. The minor found Gray's boyfriend, Dustin Wilder,
lying face down in a pool of blood in the kitchen and
response personnel were called and determined Wilder was
deceased. Law enforcement officers arrived approximately five
to ten minutes after the medical responders. An officer noted
an empty shell casing on the floor between the kitchen and
the living room. A blue chair with a broken spindle was
leaning against the refrigerator. Wilder's hat was upside
down on the kitchen floor and there were beer cans on the
county medical examiner (ME) came to the house but was unable
to determine the cause of death at that time. Later that
afternoon, the ambulance transported Wilder's body to the
hospital for an autopsy, which revealed a gunshot wound to
the left backside of Wilder's head. There was no exit
wound. Wilder also had a small laceration near the bullet
entry and an abrasion by his right ear. The ME removed bullet
fragments for testing. Law enforcement later located a metal
fragment in the blood on the kitchen floor. Based on the
blood splatter and the location of the wound, the ME opined
Wilder had been shot while he was lying on the floor.
the police were at Gray's home, James Munhofen arrived.
Munhofen had been alerted by a friend that the police were at
Gray's house and he went over to see what was happening.
Munhofen told police that he and Wilder had been at the Sloan
Tap the night before and Munhofen had left before Wilder.
Police then learned from the bartender that Wilder had left
the bar with Amanda and Timothy Schroeder at about 2:00 a.m.
on January 9. The police obtained the video surveillance
recordings from the bar and an "IOU" note Amanda
had left with her contact information. Law enforcement
subsequently interviewed several individuals and were able to
piece together the following.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015, Schroeder was paroled and released
from custody in the Sioux City area. At about 11:00 a.m.,
Schroeder was picked up at a friend's house by Dustin
Duncan and Amanda in Amanda's white Buick. Amanda did not
have a driver's license, and Duncan, who had known Amanda
for a couple months, was a homeless methamphetamine user who
helped Amanda by driving for her. The record shows Amanda
appeared to have no permanent address and had been staying at
different places, including motels, her grandmother's
house in Sioux City, and the Guzman residence in South Sioux
asked about Schroeder having to report to his parole officer.
Schroeder told Amanda he did not have to immediately report.
Schroeder used Amanda's cell phone while they were riding
in the car. Duncan overheard Schroeder on the phone
"ranting and raving" and talking about weapons
including a pistol and an "AR". Duncan heard
Schroeder say he was supposed to go to a residential
treatment facility (RTF) but he was not going to turn himself
in stating, "[T]he next time they're going to get
[me] is going to be for murder." Amanda recalled
Schroeder saying if he was going to "go back" it
was going to be for "something big."
11:50 a.m. on January 6, several text messages were sent from
Amanda's phone to Corey O'Neill, a person Schroeder
had met in jail. The first stated, "I need a pistol for
the day and I'll give u a glock 40 when I get it this
week"; followed by, "Actually I need it by 3ish
sorry bro"; then, "Fuck seriously. I'm not
gonna use it I think. Just need it going into hostile
territory"; and then, "We need to talk about some
things when u can if u don't mind." At 3:20 p.m., a
text from O'Neill's phone to Amanda's phone
stated, "I got a chick with me that can't know
about 3:00 p.m., Duncan was feeling unsettled by
Schroeder's behavior and asked to be dropped off.
Schroeder then drove Amanda's car to O'Neill's
house to look at a .40 caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol.
O'Neill let Schroeder take the Taurus pistol in a black
case along with two full clips and a partial box of
ammunition. Amanda was in O'Neill's house but was not
in the room where Schroeder and O'Neill were discussing
p.m. on January 7, Schroeder sent O'Neill the following
text: "Dude I seriously about shot this dude because he
was getting stupid." At some point that day, Schroeder
and Amanda went to a rural location between Salix and Sloan
and both test-fired the gun. The gun jammed. At 10:22 p.m.,
Schroeder sent a text to O'Neill: "Gun jams 2
much." O'Neil responded, "It needs
Thursday, January 8, Schroeder sent texts to O'Neill
about covering for him with his parole officer. That afternoon
Schroeder called his parole officer, Emmanuel Scarmon,
claiming that he did not know he was supposed to report when
released. Schroeder then set an appointment for 9 a.m. on
evening, Amanda and Schroeder headed to Sloan. Amanda hoped
to meet a former boyfriend, Corey Schuknecht, to collect a
sweatshirt and forty dollars he owed her. Driving in
near-blizzard conditions, they got stuck in a snow drift on
the edge of Sloan near Archie Kelly's home. Kelly first
provided Schroeder with a shovel, and later helped Schroeder
pull the car out with twine attached to his truck and the
Buick's radiator bracket. Schroeder told Kelly they were
from Omaha and were headed to Sioux City to meet friends.
minutes after getting unstuck, Schroeder had to stop near a
bank in Sloan to tie down the hood because the latch had
broken during the towing efforts. At 11:04 p.m., Woodbury
County Deputy Patrick Hinrichsen drove by a man working on
the hood of a vehicle in front of a bank and offered to help.
The man (Schroeder) declined.
same night, Thursday, January 8, Munhofen and Wilder met at
the Sloan Tap after work and then left to go to Wilder's
home to play video games. They returned to the bar around 9
after midnight, Schroeder and Amanda arrived at the Sloan Tap
because Amanda knew Schuknecht went there on occasion.
Munhofen was there with Wilder. Amanda was familiar with
Wilder and the bartender, Lisa Murdock, because they had all
lived in the same apartment building some years earlier.
Wilder helped Schroeder secure the hood of Amanda's car
with wire. Wilder spoke to Amanda and reportedly bought her a
drink. Schroeder spoke very little to anyone. Also in the bar
during the early-morning hours were patrons Emily Musack and
Richard Pope. Everyone was drinking except Schroeder, and
Murdock believed that Amanda and Wilder exhibited signs of
intoxication. Patrons also saw Amanda playing with a Taser,
but she was not threatening anyone with it. No one observed
any problems between Munhofen and Wilder, and no one heard
any arguments, raised voices, or fighting between Schroeder
1:30 a.m. on January 9, Munhofen decided to go home but
Wilder wanted to stay. Murdock recalled Schroeder and Amanda
offered to give Wilder a ride home. Munhofen recalled it was
Schroeder who offered Wilder a ride. Wilder did not have his
cell phone, having either lost or misplaced it earlier in the
evening. Munhofen loaned Wilder forty dollars before leaving
the bar. Munhofen left without Wilder. Musack left the
bar shortly after Munhofen. Pope was still there when Wilder
left with Schroeder and Amanda around 1:50 to 1:55 a.m.
Before leaving, Amanda tried to pay her tab of $19.50 with a
credit card. The card was declined and Amanda gave Murdock an
IOU with Amanda's name, address, and phone number. The IOU
states, "Will be back in morning to pay or ask Cory
Schu[knecht]" and included Schuknecht's phone
to Amanda, she and Schroeder, drove Wilder to Gray's
house and went inside with him. Amanda went to use the
bathroom and recalled Wilder sitting in a blue chair at the
kitchen table and Schroeder standing by the refrigerator.
Amanda joined the men in the kitchen, sitting on a bench by
the kitchen table. She and Wilder drank more. Amanda again
left the kitchen and when she returned, Schroeder said,
"[Y]ou don't want to see this, " pushing her
back around. Amanda heard a gunshot and turned to see Wilder
on the floor and Schroeder standing with a gun in his hand.
Pointing the gun at her, Schroeder told Amanda to go to the
car, and she complied. They drove back to Sioux City and
spent the rest of the night in a parking lot. Schroeder and
Amanda then drove to the RTF building and Schroeder attended
his 9:00 a.m. appointment with his parole officer. At the
meeting, Schroeder told Scarmon he had been with his wife the
last few days and had gone to Omaha with her, and he was
planning to work with or for his friend Corey O'Neill.
Scarmon arrested Schroeder for a parole violation. Scarmon
had Schroeder give his wallet, ring, and cell phone to
Amanda, who was still in her car in the parking lot.
called Amanda from jail at 9:44 a.m. asking her to give
O'Neill a message, and she asked if he wanted her
"to give that back to Corey." At 9:50 a.m. Amanda
sent a text to O'Neill, "U awake." Not until
1:45 p.m. did O'Neill respond with the text,
"Barely." Amanda then told O'Neill Schroeder
was in jail, and "I gotta drop something off to
Amanda did not have a license, she called for Jose Guzman
(Maria Guzman's son) to pick her up and drive her from
the RTF back to Guzman's house. Carlos Mendez also lived
there with his wife and two daughters in a basement room he
rented. Amanda asked Guzman and Mendez to help her clean out
her car because she did not want anything to do with the gun
(the Taurus) that was in the backseat. Amanda asked Mendez to
store the gun. Mendez testified Amanda forced him to take the
gun because she had done him favors in the past. Mendez
placed the gun and accessories in a sack on a wall. Amanda
then left with Guzman for several hours. When she returned,
Amanda had groceries for Mendez's family.
afternoon, Mendez went to a relative's house and asked
the relative to keep the gun for a day. Mendez promised to
return the following day and collect it. His relative hid the
gun in a box behind the television.
meantime, after speaking to Munhofen, Woodbury Detective Norm
Petersen spoke to Murdock, who gave the detective
Amanda's IOU with her contact information. Deputies met
Amanda late Friday afternoon at her grandmother's house
in Sioux City. Amanda told them about Schroeder's efforts
to acquire a gun, where he had tested the firearm between
Salix and Sloan, and their car troubles in Sloan on Thursday
night. She also told them about Duncan and O'Neill.
Detective Petersen interviewed O'Neill who told him about
giving Schroeder a firearm, and Amanda's text telling him
Schroeder was back in jail and that she wanted to return
something to him.
10 p.m. deputies brought Amanda in for a second interview to
find the location of the firearm. In their presence, Amanda
contacted Jose Guzman who told her that Mendez had the gun.
Deputies continued questioning Amanda while South Sioux City
officers made arrangements to search the Guzman home.
Officers woke up Maria Guzman and the other occupants late
Friday night or early Saturday morning. They found Mendez in
the basement. There Sergeant Jeremy Grace observed what
appeared to be a .40 caliber bullet on the floor and an empty
ammunition box. Mendez told officers where he had taken the
gun and led them to his relative's home. There officers
located a box containing the loaded Taurus pistol, a second
loaded magazine, and bullets in a clip. A short time later
Detective Petersen took possession of the firearm and related
Petersen spoke to Amanda a third time on Saturday morning,
January 10, and had her take deputies to the location where
she and Schroeder had test-fired the gun obtained from
O'Neill. There, deputies found thirteen shell casings.
Jansen and Peterson interviewed Schroeder on January 13.
Schroeder claimed he had not been told to report to his
parole officer immediately upon release. He told detectives
he had been doing drywall and flooring work with O'Neill
and he and Amanda were staying with O'Neill. Schroeder
did not initially admit that they were in Sloan late Thursday
night into early Friday morning. He later admitted to being
in Sloan at the Sloan Tap and to driving Wilder home.
However, Schroeder maintained he and Amanda helped Wilder
inside, helped him find his cell phone, and then left and
headed back to O'Neill's house. Schroeder insisted he
had told them everything. He also denied possessing or firing
a gun during the last week.
January 17, Gray found Wilder's cell phone outside her
house near the curb and turned it over to Deputy Derek Brand.
was charged with murder in the first degree, going armed with
intent as a habitual offender, and being a felon in
possession of a firearm as a habitual offender. Prior to the
start of trial, Schroeder ...