from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Patrick H.
defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to
support his convictions for robbery in the first degree and
willful injury. AFFIRMED.
Conrad Douglas, Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Blane, S.J.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Wright appeals his convictions for robbery in the first
degree and willful injury. He argues neither conviction is
supported by substantial evidence.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
February 2017, Wright was charged with one count each of
attempted murder, willful injury, intimidation with a
dangerous weapon, and robbery in the first degree. All four
counts involved allegations stemming from the night of
February 10, 2017. Wright waived his right to a trial by
jury, and the court heard the evidence at a bench trial in
trial, N.W. testified that on the night of February
10, he and two of his friends-K. R. and G.B.-walked south
from his home several blocks to a local gas station. The
three entered the gas station at approximately 10:41 p.m.
While there, N.W. purchased two Dr. Peppers, a package of
Sour Patch Kids, and a bag of Flaming Hot
return walk to N.W.'s home, N.W., K.R., and G.B.
encountered a man that each identified as Wright at trial.
Wright changed directions and began walking with the group,
repeatedly asking N.W. what he was carrying in his pockets,
to which N.W. told him, "None of your business." At
some point, Wright grabbed N.W.'s arm and started
throwing punches at him. N.W. dropped the gas station bag
with the snacks and tried to defend himself. Wright then
pulled what N.W., K.R., G.B. each testified was a gun from
behind his back, pointed it at N.W., and told him to
"[g]ive me what you got." N.W. threw his cell phone
toward Wright, and N.W., K.R., and G.B. fled to N.W.'s
home. Neither N.W. nor his friends picked up the gas station
bag before they left.
10:48, Wright entered the gas station carrying two Dr.
Peppers. He asked the clerk for a bag for the sodas, which he
was given, and then left the store. As N.W., K.R., and G.B.
testified, and as was captured by the surveillance cameras,
Wright wore a blue, long-sleeve jacket or sweatshirt.
N.W., K.R., and G.B. reached N.W.'s home, they reported
to N.W.'s older brother, Alan, what had occurred. Alan
and N.W. decided to try and get N.W.'s phone from Wright;
they armed themselves with a BB gun and two knives. The four,
including K.R. and G.B. then began walking from N.W.'s
home toward the area they had encountered Wright.
neared the area, Wright-who was standing on the porch of a
corner home a few blocks from the gas station-yelled,
"Hey you," to N.W. N.W. and Alan then approached
the porch while K.R. and G.B. stayed on the other side of the
street. N.W. and Wright argued about the fact that Wright had
taken N.W.'s phone and whether he was going to return it.
According to both N.W. and Alan, during the argument, Wright
kept his hand behind his back. Alan testified he could see
that Wright was holding on to the handle of a gun but that he
never pulled it out or pointed it at anyone during that time.
Eventually, an older man who was also on the porch told
Wright to give N.W. his phone back, and Wright did so. The
older man then walked away from the area. N.W. continued to
argue with Wright about what had happened to his snacks and
wanting them back. Wright went to the door of the home and
yelled something. Four or five guys exited the house, and
N.W. and Alan began running towards the gas station. At least
three of the guys chased them to the store. Another one or
two started chasing K.R. and G.B. the other direction.
11:17, N.W. and Alan entered the gas station and asked the
clerk to call 911. Wright and two friends, Donte Drappeaux
and Tykell Robinson, entered the store about the same time.
The store clerk tried to keep the two groups separate while
Wright and his friends continued to attempt to reach N.W. and
Alan. At some point, Wright, Donte, and Tykell exited the
store. At 11:22, Tykell and Donte returned without Wright.
According to the testimony of the gas station clerk, Wright
had left the area by the time Tykell and Donte came back into
the store. The first police officer arrived at the scene
about one minute later.
the same time, Skyla Wabasha, Eric Silvas, and A.C.-M. were
walking to the gas station. On the way they encountered a
girl and a boy- presumably K.R. and G.B.-who reported
their mutual friend had been robbed of his phone. After
imparting the information, the boy and girl walked away, and
Skyla, Eric, and A.C.-M continued toward the gas station.
three walked down the alley that passed directly behind the
corner home where Wright had been standing when he argued
with N.W. and Alan. As they approached the corner home, they
saw a man running toward them in the alley, who then turned
toward the corner home and disappeared from their view. When
they got near the corner home, Eric and A.C.-M. saw a man on
the porch of the corner home and approached it. The man was
wearing a blue jacket and matched the description of Wright.
At trial, neither A.C.-M, Eric, nor Skyla specifically
identified Wright as the man on the porch. A.C.-M. shouted at
the man, asking if he had taken his friend's phone.
According to Eric's testimony, the man on the porch got
defensive and "a little mad at [A.C.-M.] trying to be a
hero"; during the interaction, the man "had, like,
something on his back or whatnot. He had his hand behind his
back the whole time." Almost immediately after A.C.-M
shouted at the man, the man on the porch fired four shots in
rapid succession. Two of the shots hit A.C.-M.-one in his hip
and the other in the chest or shoulder area. Eric testified
he did not see the man on the porch pull out a gun, but he
saw the man on the porch pointing it A.C.-M. and saw
"sparks or whatever a gun does" when he heard the
Skyla, and Eric fled to the gas station, where police had
already gathered ...