from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul Scott,
appeals his conviction for willful injury causing serious
Yang, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Montalvo Nunez appeals his conviction for willful injury
causing serious injury. We find Nunez has not preserved error
on his claim concerning the use of a key witness to translate
during an interview with the victim. We conclude there is
substantial evidence in the record to support Nunez's
conviction for willful injury causing serious injury based on
a finding he aided and abetted his brother while the brother
was stabbing the victim. We affirm Nunez's conviction.
Background Facts & Proceedings
February 19, 2017, Jose Pena, the owner of El Carretero Farm
in southeast Des Moines, held a gathering for people who
boarded horses at his farm. There was music, food, and
alcoholic beverages for those in attendance. Jose Desantiago,
who boarded a horse there, brought his friend, Cristian
Alvarez. Luis Montalvo (Luis) also boarded a horse at the
farm and attended the gathering.
the gathering, Luis rode his horse through a group of people.
Either the horse stepped on someone's toes or it came too
close to people, and Luis was reprimanded by some men.
Several people noticed Luis was intoxicated. Luis became
angry with Alvarez and started swearing at him. Pena told
Nunez, Luis's brother, to take Luis away.
walked into a horse barn. He stated Luis and Nunez were in
the barn. Luis started screaming insults at him and hit him.
Alvarez testified he tried to defend himself against the two
brothers. At one point, Nunez hugged him from behind and Luis
was able to get close to him, striking him several times.
Alvarez was able to wriggle loose from Nunez, leaving Nunez
holding his sweater. At this time, Desantiago came into the
horse barn, looking for Alvarez. Desantiago saw Alvarez had
been stabbed, as there was blood on his shirt. Desantiago saw
Nunez strike Alvarez in the head with his fist. Desantiago
kicked the knife out of Luis's hand and Luis and Nunez
called 911. Alvarez was taken to the hospital, where he was
treated for five stab wounds, including one which caused a
collapsed lung. Dr. Denville Myrie, the emergency room
physician treating Alvarez, testified his injuries would have
been life-threatening if he had not received medical
day of the incident, Alvarez was interviewed at the hospital
by Officer Joseph Dardano, who is a certified Spanish
interpreter. Alvarez's primary language is Spanish.
Officer Dardano stated Alvarez used the word,
"agarro," which he interpreted as "to
grab," to describe Nunez's conduct during the fight.
The next day, Officer Peter Wilson and an interpreter went to
interview Alvarez. Desantiago was visiting Alvarez at the
time. Although Officer Wilson brought an interpreter,
Desantiago did most of the translating. Desantiago stated
Alvarez used the word, "abrazo," which he
translated as "to hug or bear hug," to describe
Nunez's conduct. Police officers found a folding knife
and a sweater with holes in it, matching the stab wounds to
Alvarez, in the horse barn. After the incident, Luis left the
was charged with willful injury causing serious injury, in
violation of Iowa Code section 708.4(1) (2017), a class
"C" felony, under the theory Nunez aided and
abetted in the offense. Nunez waived his right to a jury
trial and the case was tried to the court. Nunez testified
Luis stabbed Alvarez, but Nunez claimed he was trying to keep
the men apart. He stated he hugged Alvarez, but also stated
it was not a hug per se, and Alvarez was not wearing a
sweater or sweatshirt at the time. Nunez testified neither