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State v. Inman

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROBIN INMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Karen A. Romano, Judge.

         The defendant appeals from her conviction for burglary in the first degree. AFFIRMED.

          Christopher R. Kemp of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Robin Inman appeals from her conviction for burglary in the first degree. She maintains there is insufficient evidence to support her conviction, arguing there was not substantial evidence to support the jury's finding (1) she had the intent to commit an assault or theft at the time she entered the occupied structure or (2) she inflicted bodily injury while "in or upon" the occupied structure.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Savu Cirligel is a Des Moines homeowner whose home was badly damaged in a fire. Cirligel and his family moved out of the home but left their possessions behind. Cirligel intended to repair the home and, ultimately, to move back. In April 2017, Cirligel noticed that his garage-where many of the family's valuables were being stored-was being broken into and items were being stolen. Local police were unable to assist Cirligel, so he decided he would spend some nights in the home in an attempt to catch any perpetrators in the act.

         Cirligel stayed in the basement of the split-level home on April 10; he was armed with a handgun. He did not have a phone with him, and the home did not have electricity.

         According to his testimony, Cirligel was waiting in one of the downstairs bedrooms when he heard someone walking around on the floor above him. He estimated it lasted for about five minutes before the person opened the basement door. He did not hear anyone speaking or calling out as they walked around upstairs. When the door opened, he saw a woman-Inman-wearing a "strong headlamp." Cirligel lifted the gun, and Inman began saying repeatedly, "Don't shoot me." Cirligel told the woman he was not going to shoot her and asked what she was doing in his home. She responded that she had a boyfriend with a gun who was out in the backyard. Cirligel grabbed her by the arm with the intention of removing her from the home. At one point in his testimony, Cirligel stated, "[They] fought up on the stairs," but he also testified Inman did not struggle on the way outside.

         After they got outside in the yard, Cirligel yelled for his neighbor to call 911. Inman-in an apparent attempt to break free from him-then began to fight with Cirligel. She used the scarf he was wearing to choke him and pull him to the ground. According to Cirligel, it was during the scuffle that he fired the gun and shot Inman. Inman fled to a nearby friend's home. Based on a separate 911 call, police and medical personnel were directed to the apartment of Inman's friend. They found Inman conscious and laying on her stomach; she had been shot in her lower back. She was transported to a local hospital, where she ultimately underwent surgery for the injury.

         Officer Dao Meunsaveng spoke to Inman at the hospital. Inman told him she had been out walking when she realized she was being followed by someone-a person she thought was her former boyfriend. She said he "gave her the look" so she decided to flee. She told the officer she ran until she found a house and then she jumped the fence and hid in the backyard of the home. While she was there hiding, she was confronted by a male. As she was climbing back over the fence to meet a friend who was picking her up in a vehicle, she heard a pop and felt a burning sensation.

         Detective Danny White spoke to Inman approximately ten days after the incident. Inman told him she walking from a friend's house to a local convenience store to buy cigarettes when she noticed someone she believed to be her former boyfriend-who had been abusive-following her. After some discussion, Inman told Detective White that she was not sure the person had been the former boyfriend; "she thought it could be him in the way that he walked was like her ex-boyfriend but she was not positive that it was" him. She indicated she fled on foot and ultimately found a backyard with a shed that she hid behind. While hiding behind the shed, she saw an open window to the home and decided to enter. She climbed some barrels to get to a second-story deck and then entered the home through the window. Once she got inside, she walked around the house knocking on interior doors "to see if anybody is there" but also noted that the house appeared to be burnt. She then went downstairs, where she encountered Cirligel. According to Inman, she ...


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