from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane,
defendant appeals his stalking conviction.
Dickey of Dickey & Campbell Law Firm, PLC, Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
Gustafson appeals his conviction for stalking in violation of
Iowa Code section 708.11 (2018). He claims the evidence does
not prove beyond a reasonable doubt he "purposefully
engaged in a course of conduct" within the meaning of
the stalking statute, one of the incidents did not imply a
threat of harm, and the felony enhancement should not apply
to his conviction. Because substantial evidence supports the
conviction, we affirm the district court's ruling.
Scope & Standard of Review
review insufficient-evidence claims for errors at law.
State v. Evans, 671 N.W.2d 720, 724 (Iowa 2003).
"The trial court's findings of guilt are binding on
appeal if supported by substantial evidence." State
v. Lane, 743 N.W.2d 178, 181 (Iowa 2007). Substantial
evidence exists if a rational fact-finder could find the
defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Evans,
671 N.W.2d at 724. "[W]e review the record evidence in
the light most favorable to the State." State v.
Dalton, 674 N.W.2d 111, 116 (Iowa 2004) (citation
omitted). "To the extent the issue involves the
interpretation of a statute, this court reviews for
correction of errors at law." State v. Lindell,
828 N.W.2d 1, 4 (Iowa 2013).
Background Facts & Proceedings
is the son of Ronald Gustafson. Jordan is thirty-four years
old, a heavy drinker, and has mental-health issues. Jordan
has exhibited anger and behavioral problems since he was a
child and has destroyed walls and furniture in his and
Ronald's homes several times over the years. He is an
experienced mixed-martial-arts fighter. Ronald has paid
Jordan's legal fees relating to physical altercations
Jordan has had in the past.
September 2017, Jordan moved in with Ronald and refused to
move back out. Some nights, Ronald would wake up to find
Jordan standing over him, making verbal threats while
clenching his fists and glaring. Several times, Jordan
"squared up" to fight, standing inches in front of
Ronald while yelling at him. On multiple occasions, Ronald
left the house and stayed at a hotel because he was afraid of
January 6, 2018, Ronald was in his vehicle in the house
driveway when Jordan opened the car door, tried to take
Ronald's cell phone, and grabbed the keys from the
ignition. Jordan then got a knife with a three- or four- inch
blade and threatened to slash the vehicle's tires. Ronald
went to the neighbors' house and called the police. On
January 9, Ronald obtained a protective order against Jordan,
including requiring him to move out of Ronald's house.
after 1:00 a.m. on April 24, Jordan kicked in a door and
broke into Ronald's home. Jordan stood in the doorway to
Ronald's bedroom holding a butcher knife and said he
would not hurt Ronald, but he was going to kill himself and
make Ronald watch. Ronald feared for his life, ran through
another room, out of the house to a neighbor's ...