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State v. Hayes

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MAURICE MONTRAIL HAYES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink, Judge.

         Maurice Hayes appeals his convictions after a jury found him guilty of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and assault causing bodily injury.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kelli Huser, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         Maurice Hayes appeals his convictions after a jury found him guilty of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and assault causing bodily injury. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and the admission of certain evidence. He also alleges he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         William Butcher was making repairs to his car outside an apartment building in the early morning hours of May 12, 2016, in order to arrive at work by 5:30 a.m. Sometime after 3:00 a.m., he was approached by a man who asked if he had a cigarette. After Butcher gave the man a cigarette, the man asked if Butcher could make change for a $20 bill. When Butcher took out his wallet, the man came running at him with a gun, and the two scuffled before Butcher ran into the apartment where his girlfriend, Kay Oertwig, was staying. Butcher told Oertwig and her mother that someone had just tried to rob him. When they looked out an apartment window, the man was digging around in Butcher's car. Oertwig ran out of the apartment to confront the man, chasing after him as he walked away. The man stopped walking and turned around to face her, and Oertwig got close enough to make eye contact with him, although his face was covered up to his nose. The man ripped away a silver chain that Oertwig was wearing before striking her in the head with the gun. Butcher, who had run after Oertwig, was charging at the man when the man shot him twice.

         While Butcher was in the hospital recovering from surgery, he was presented with a photographic array that included a photograph of Hayes. In the photograph, Hayes's hairstyle was different from the way it appeared in May 2016. Butcher was unable to identify any of the men depicted as the man who shot him.

         During the police investigation, Des Moines Police Detective Danny White obtained surveillance video footage taken at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting. The footage showed Shayla Shade dropping her cousin off at a different building in Oertwig's apartment complex at 3:22 a.m. Shortly after Shade's cousin and the cousin's boyfriend exited Shade's vehicle and went inside the apartment building, a person who Shade identified as Hayes exited the front passenger seat of Shade's vehicle. As Shade drove away, the person identified as Hayes walked north, in the direction of Oertwig's apartment building and Butcher's car. Thereafter, the footage is consistent with the accounts provided by Butcher and Oertwig; it shows two figures "moving around a little bit" for ten minutes before one of the figures-later seen to be Butcher-is shown running from a vehicle and into the apartment building, while the other figure chases him before returning to the vehicle. The footage then shows Oertwig confronting the figure, the figure assaulting Oertwig, and Butcher being shot. Finally, the footage shows the figure walking out of the camera's frame.

         Detective White also obtained surveillance video footage from Shade's apartment complex, which was not far from Oertwig's apartment complex. The surveillance footage shows a figure-who appears to be the same individual depicted in the video footage from Oertwig's apartment-running through a grassy area and parking lot before entering Shade's apartment building. Surveillance video taken from inside Shade's apartment building shows that the individual walking away from Shade's apartment is carrying what appears to be a black hooded sweatshirt when he enters a laundry room for a moment. He then leaves the laundry room without the sweatshirt.

         A warrant was issued for Hayes's arrest in connection with the events of May 12. On June 26, 2016, an off-duty police officer spotted Hayes and arrested him. During an interview at the police station, Hayes claimed he was out of town on May 12.

         At trial, both Oertwig and Butcher identified Hayes as the assailant. The surveillance video footage was presented to the jury, as was the first three-and-one-half minutes of Hayes's June 2016 interview at the police station. After deliberating, the jury returned its verdict, finding Hayes guilty of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and assault causing bodily injury.

         II. Sufficiency of the Evidence.

         Hayes first contends there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions. We review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction for correction of errors at law. See State v. Kelso-Christy, ___ N.W.2d ___, ___, 2018 WL 2070572, at *2 (Iowa 2018). In doing so, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State. See id. The question is whether substantial evidence supports the finding of guilt. See id. Evidence is substantial if it would convince a rational factfinder that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. See id.

         Hayes challenges the evidence concerning the identity of the assailant. Specifically, he argues the eyewitness identifications by Butcher and Oertwig are not credible and the surveillance footage is inconclusive because it does not definitively show that Hayes was the assailant.

         Oertwig identified Hayes as the assailant, although she testified she could only see his eyes. Butcher also identified Hayes as the assailant, though he was less certain. When asked to describe the man who shot him, Butcher testified:

A. At the time he had like-I don't know what you call it. Like a porcupine, his hair. He was wearing a hoodie. I believe it was a hoodie. I don't know what color it was. I just remember there might have ...

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