from the Iowa District Court for Guthrie County, Terry
Hellman appeals his conviction and sentence for assault
causing bodily injury.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, (until withdrawal) and
Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.
found Eric Hellman guilty of assault causing bodily injury.
On appeal, he argues: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective,
(2) the district court applied the wrong standard when
deciding his motion for new trial, (3) the district court
imposed court costs without making the required finding of
his reasonable ability to pay, and (4) the district
court's no-contact order improperly classified his mother
as an "intimate partner" and, as a result,
improperly imposed a firearms prohibition. We conditionally
affirm and remand with instructions.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Saturday, June 17, 2017, Hellman went to his parents'
home. He wanted his mother, Cherie Hellman, to help fix his
cellphone. While communicating with the phone company,
Hellman became increasingly agitated.
to Cherie, she tried to sneak out of the house when Hellman
became enraged. Hellman prevented her exit by "body
checking" her into the door. J.H., Hellman's
daughter, fled the house. Hellman held Cherie against the
door and hit her in the mouth. She was unable to call 911
because, at some point, Hellman had confiscated her
cellphone. Eventually, Hellman released her and she fled
toward her car.
about the same time, Cherie's husband arrived at the
home. J.H. ran to him. Meanwhile, Hellman threw Cherie's
phone into her car and shoved her inside. She escaped alone
in her car. Once on the road, she called 911 and asked for
assistance to be sent to her husband and J.H.
then headed to the police station. She was told to come back
Monday to file a report. So Cherie, her husband, and J.H.
left town for the weekend.
Monday, they returned to file a police report. Deputy Sheriff
Jesse Swensen took photographs of Cherie's bruising and
injuries. At trial, Deputy Sheriff Swensen opined that the
injuries were consistent with Cherie's account of the
law enforcement interviewed Hellman, he relayed a different
account of events. He told Deputy Kent Gries that he and
Cherie got into an argument about landscaping at his home.
During the argument, Cherie hit Hellman nine times in the
face with her cane. But Deputy Gries testified he saw ...