Attorney’s Office

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Note: Disposition reports will be removed after sixty days. If you need more information about a case, you can contact the clerk of court or do a case search on Iowa Courts Online.

Felony Case Summary (June 2018)

Monday, July 2, 2018

On June 1, 2018, Charles Galeazzi appeared for a hearing on his request to have new counsel appointed.  The Defendant had previously entered a plea of guilty to Theft in the 2nd Degree in FECR310370; sentencing was set for July 2, 2018.  Following the plea, the attorney-client relationship deteriorated and the defendant and his attorney were not able to reconcile.  The Court granted his request for new counsel.

On June 1, 2018, Elijah Dwayne Atkins appeared for a bond review in FECR311379.  The Defendant had been arrested for violating the terms of his probation by committing  new offense. The Defendant entered a plea of guilty to his new offense-Carrying Weapons- in AGCR315721.  He was granted a two (2) year suspended sentence and placed on probation in that matter. He also stipulated that the new offense was a violation of his probation in FECR311379 and stipulated the violations were sufficient to warrant revocation of his deferred judgement.  The Court adjudged him guilty of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Marijuana.  He was granted a suspended five (5) year sentence and placed on probation.  The two sentences were ordered to be served consecutive to each other. 

On June 1, 2018, Amina Garcia appeared for a probation violation hearing in FECR299223 and SRCR306190.  She had previously been cited for contempt.  Pending her date for purge, she failed to comply with treatment programming . The Court requested she provide a UA, which she did and which was negative .The Court agreed, in light of purported medical issues, to stay the period of contempt yet again.  Hearing is set for review on September 6, 2018.

On June 1, 2018, Mark Gottbehuet appeared for a contempt of Court hearing.  He did show evidence of his compliance with Court orders and his contempt was purged. 

On June 1, 2018, Kristina Hellberg appeared for sentencing on a probation violation in FECR304413; SRCR305444 and SRCR300598.  She had previously stipulated she violated probation.  The Court ordered her to the Women’s Residential Facility as a condition of continued probation. She will remain in jail pending space at the WRF unless the Jail determines she should be released with electronic monitoring. 

On June 1, 2018, Christopher Jackson appeared for a probation violation hearing in FECR287430.  He stipulated he violation probation by committing a new offense and stipulated his violation was sufficient to warrant revocation of his Deferred Judgment in this matter.  The Court entered judgment against him for the charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance and Forgery.  He will remain on probation for an additional term of two years.   

On June 1, 2018, Michael Angelo Knox appeared for a probation violation hearing in FECR288751.  He stipulated he violated his probation by absenting himself from the Fort Des Moines Facility.  The Probation officer agreed he could be returned to the facility after serving a period of contempt for 60 days.  The Court ordered 30 days contempt in this matter and that he return to the Fort.  The Defendant also entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Escape.  He was sentenced to 30 days on that offense, which was to run consecutive to the probation matter.  At the end of the 60 day term, and when a bed is available, the Defendant will be returned to the Fort where he will be required to comply with the terms and conditions of the program until he is discharged from probation.

On June 1, 2018, Donald Scigliano appeared in FECR273823 for a probation violation hearing.  The allegations included continued use of methamphetamine and failure to attend treatment as required  The Defendant provided a clean UA this date.  The Defendant was fond in contempt and ordered to serve 90 days which the Court delayed mittimus and set a hearing at which he could prove compliance with all conditions and purge his contempt.

On June 5, 2018, David Brown plead guilty to the crimes of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, and Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp, a Class D felony, in case number FE314456.  He will be sentenced on July 24, 2018 and faces a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed ten (10) years and five (5) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On June 5, 2018, Larry Flanders was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, as a second or subsequent offender, in case number FE304745.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On June 11, 2018, Justine Terrones appeared for a probation violation hearing in FECR298814. The Defendant admitted he had failed to comply with sex offender treatment programming (SOTP) and had used illegal substances.  The Defendant asked the Court to give him another change at probation.  The State argued he had a chance to comply with probation conditions when he was granted the probation to begin with and that his probation should be revoked.  The Court declined to continue the Defendant on probation since he had failed to attend SOTP for more than 1/2 the sessions.  The Judge revoked the Defendant’s probation and sentenced him to an indeterminate period of  ten (10) years in prison on the offense of Lascivious Acts with a Child. 

On June 21, 2018, Tyson Teut appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR308554.  Teut pleaded guilty to Non-Felonious Misconduct in Office and was sentenced to one year in jail.  The jail sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for a period of one year and fined $315.00 plus surcharges and costs.  Teut admitted that when formerly employed as a Des Moines Police Officer, he failed to perform a duty required by law by failing to ensure the sanctity of controlled substance evidence seized in one Des Moines Police case, by knowingly commingling that controlled substance evidence with a portion of controlled substance evidence seized in a separate Des Moines Police case.  Teut was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On June 26, 2018, James Richard Dawson, Jr., appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal numbers FECR310854 and FECR314962.  Dawson pleaded guilty and was sentenced in FECR310854 to ten years in prison for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver (methamphetamine) and in FECR314962 to ten years in prison for the crime of Neglect of a Dependent Person.  The sentences will be served consecutively for a total of 20 years in prison.  Dawson was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

ON June 27, 2018, Megan Marie Phillips appeared for sentencing in several matters.  She previously pled guilty to Theft 2nd Degree in FECR310562 and Theft 4th Degree in SRCR312953.  The parties had agreed the Defendant could be afforded the opportunity of a Deferred Judgment on each count, but the pre-sentence report revealed the Defendant has already been granted a deferred judgment in the past.  The Defendant is only allowed 2 Deferred Judgments in her lifetime.  The parties agreed she could request the Court grant her a deferred judgment in the felony matter and the parties would request a suspended 1 year sentence as to the Theft 4th Degree. The Court agreed the proposed disposition was appropriate and entered an order consistent therewith.  The Defendant was placed on probation for two (2) years during which time she will be required to obtain employment, obtain a mental health evaluation and comply with recommendations, attend a meeting with the victims if the victims so desire, make restitution and provide a DNA sample.  She is also assessed a fine or civil penalty in these matters.

On June 27, 2018, Jewell Sharon Davis appeared for sentencing in FECR312598.  She previously pled guilty to Theft in the 1st Degree.  Defendant asked the Court to grant her a deferred judgment, in consideration of her age, her lack of criminal history and her service to the community.  The State requested a suspended sentence due to the length of time of the crime and the amount of money involved.  The Court did impose sentence and granted the Defendant a suspended ten (10) year sentence.  She is required to be supervised by the Department of Corrections, make restitution, meet with the victim if the victim so desires, provide a DNA sample, pay a surcharge and court costs  She will be on supervision for two (2) years or until she pays restitution in full, not to exceed six (6) years. 

On June 27, 2018 Cameron Joshua Kauffman appeared for a probation violation hearing in FECR294133.  The Defendant had originally been granted a deferred judgment on the charge of Theft in the 2nd Degree.  After several violations of his probation in the past, his deferred judgment was revoked and the Court imposed but suspended a sentence of imprisonment not to exceed five (5) years.  Since being originally placed on probation, the department of corrections has filed five reports of violation alleging the defendant has violated various terms of his probation.  The Defendant stipulated he violated his probation in this matter by missing meetings and using illegal substances. The Defendant asked the Court give him another chance at probation.  The State and department of corrections urged the Court to revoke his probation.  The Court cited his repeated lack of compliance with probation and placement when imposing the sentence of five (5) years in prison.

OWI Report (May 2018)

Monday, June 11, 2018

One Hundred thirty-nine DEFENDANTS SENTENCED FOR OWI THE MONTH OF May 2018

One hundred thirty-nine defendants were prosecuted for Operating While under the Influence (OWI) in Polk County Associate District Courts in the month of May 2018.

One hundred eleven of those defendants were prosecuted for OWI First Offense. OWI First Offense is a Serious Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,250. The Court MUST impose a minimum sentence of two days in the county jail and a fine of $1,250, upon conviction. Blood alcohol levels are shown below in parentheses. DRE indicates that the conviction was based upon use of drugs other than just alcohol. REF means that the defendant refused the chemical test. A deferred judgment (non-conviction) is usually available to those defendants who test below .150 for an OWI First Offense. The State of Iowa has a legislatively set, presumptive level of intoxication of .08.

Those defendants appearing for sentencing for OWI First Offense in this reporting period were:  

Cesar Aguilar, (REF); Brian Alonzo Castro, (REF); Stephanie Anania, (0.137); Heather Anderson, (0.086); Robert Anderson, (0.135); Alex Ataw, (0.112); Toyi Athanase, (0.221); Matthew Barber, (0.143); Michael Beal, (0.164); Shawn Beckett, (0.097); Dean Berhow, (0.103); Hem Bhattarai, (0.261); Maysone Black, (REF); Austin Blackburn, (REF); Janey Boehm, (REF); Shelby Bonnette, (0.141); Steve Brown, (0.228); Anthony Burkett, (0.146); Alicia Carpenter, (0.129); James Casey, (0.16); Carlos Chavarria, (DRE); Sherry Cleland, (REF); Anna Cole, (REF); James Conner, (0.179); James Cowie, (REF); Damon Davis, (0.184); Kole Delk, (0.125); Christopher Dennis, (REF); Mandy Devore, (0.158); Deng Gai, (0.344); Viveros Garcia, (REF); Graham Graber, (0.132); Amila Gradascevic Djuric, (0.256); Gisela Guerrero, (0.182); Malisa Gutierrez, (DRE); Marc Hamilton, (REF); Kristina Hatch, (0.23); Tanisha Hayes, (REF); Cristhian Hernandez Burgos, (REF); Cory Hickman, (REF); Shannon Hoffman, (0.236); Travis Hon, (0.163); Bruce Honadel, (0.176); Brandon Honeyman, (0.181); Admir Isakovic, (DRE); Phillip Isbell, (REF); Tara Jarrett, (0.163); Robert Jesmer, (REF); Daniel Johannesen, (0.183); Mark Kennedy, (REF); Lisa Kraft, (0.181); John Kubrak, (0.11); Christian Lallianmawia, (0.256); Justin Lehman, (DRE); Elizabeth Letessa, (0.32); Liem Lieu, (0.179); Michael Lillegraven, (0.155); Roy Lindsay, (REF); Thomas Lloyd, (0.086); Cody Lundberg, (.090); Ryan Macrae, (0.199); James Madison, (0.157); Andres Marin, (DRE); Macenzie Martin, (0.113); William Martin, (0.167); Alvaro Martinez, (0.21); Taylor McCarty, (0.148); Jason McCollum, (REF); Gay Mu, (0.225); Teigan Myers, (0.124); Tonya Oetken, (0.132); Lauren Olaby, (0.122); Chelsie Olberding, (0.115); Lopez Ortega, (REF); Nathaniel Owens, (0.166); Javier Padilla, (REF); Michael Perkins, (0.133); Brandon Persaud Marin, (0.171); Christopher Pierce, (0.126); Miguel Pintor, (0.158); James Qualls, (0.16); Jordan Reece, (0.168); Abbey Reynolds, (0.131); Elissa Roland, (REF); Charles Ryherd, (REF); Sara Sale, (0.226); Joel Salgado Cisneros, (0.193); Harrison Sanchez, (0.142); Paul Simpson, (REF); Joseph Spiewak, (0.13); Alexander Sutton, (DRE); Mary Taylor, (0.275); Alanna Teachout, (REF); Jordan Thomas, (REF); Dorothy Thompson, (DRE); Zachary Tomlinson, (0.251); Kathryn Towner, (0.085); Lemease Vanderkolk, (0.152); Jason Vandyke, (0.155); Eric Gustavo Velasquez Gomez, (REF); Goran Vojvodic, (0.132); Andrea Vollink, (REF); Kagvin Vorasith, (0.175); Messina Warning, (REF); Ariel Waterson, (0.164); Gary Wessel, (REF); Heather White, (0.258); Dustin Wipf, (0.123); Caitlyn Wood, (0.14); Fares Yahya, (0.167); and Shaina Zachery, (REF).

Of those defendants sentenced for OWI First Offense this report, thirty-eight had a test of .160 (twice the legal limit) or greater. The low chemical test among the group was .085 and the high test was .344 (more than FOUR times the legal limit). Seven defendants were prosecuted based upon their use of drugs other than just alcohol (denoted by “DRE”) and twenty-nine refused chemical testing (denoted by “REF”).

Twenty-five defendants appeared for sentencing for OWI Second Offense. OWI Second Offense is an Aggravated Misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250. The Court MUST impose a minimum sentence of seven days in county jail and a minimum fine of $1,875, upon conviction of OWI Second Offense.

Those defendants appearing for sentencing for OWI Second Offense in this reporting period were:

Christopher Callahan, (REF); David Calo, (0.208); Sara Dainty, (0.137); Francisco DeSantiago, (0.151); Christopher Fiddelke, (REF); James Flores, (REF); Alexandra Foshe Quijano, (0.229); Evelyn Gill, (REF); Bradley Gray, (REF); Phillip Griffith, (REF); Dustin Hayes, (REF); Jimmie Jackson, (REF); Francisco Jimenez, (REF); Philip Johnson, (0.094); Blane Kitzman, (REF); Matthew Kobashigawa, (REF); Eric Lovelady, (0.249); Lawrence McGregory, (REF); Dale Rinderman, (0.217); Jamie Sorensen, (0.193); Lucas Titus, (0.316); Amanda Vanpelt, (0.208); Dustin Vanryswyk, (0.117); Mariruth Wheels, (0.131); and Daniel Yeager, (0.17).

Of those defendants sentenced for OWI Second Offense who took a chemical test, those tests ranged from a low of 0.094 to a high of 0.316 (more than THREE times the legal limit). Nine of these defendants refused the chemical test.

There were three defendants sentenced this reporting period for OWI Third Offense.  OWI Third Offense is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and by a fine of up to $9,375. The Court MUST sentence a defendant convicted of OWI Third Offense to a minimum of thirty days in county jail and a minimum fine of $3,125. The defendants appearing for sentencing for OWI Third Offense in this reporting period were: 

Melanie Holman, (0.107); Lee Jorgenson, (REF); and Eric Stanton, (0.15).

These cases were prosecuted by attorneys assigned to the Intake and Screening Bureau of Polk County Attorney John Sarcone’s Office. For the month of May 2018, the attorneys directly responsible for handling this challenging, fast-paced and high volume docket were: Maurice Curry, Kailyn Heston, and Jordan Roling, and the support staff responsible for assisting were: Megan Carter, Melanie Lumley, Chelsey Wilson, and Erica Zimmerman.

Felony Case Update (May 2018)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On May 15, 2018, Ashley Flores plead guilty to the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, in case number FE304746.  She will be sentenced on July 10, 2018 and faces a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed ten (10) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On May 16, 2018, Kimberly Graham appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR313469.  Graham pleaded guilty to Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver (methamphetamine), a class C felony.  Graham will be sentenced in July, 2018.  Graham is being prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On May 17, 2018, Anthony Garcia plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Attempt to Commit Murder, a Class B felony, in case number FE307947.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years with a mandatory seventy percent (70%) he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole.  On July 28, 2017, the defendant drove Miguel Lorenzo Baltazar to Oakland Avenue where he shot and killed Jeffrey Mercado.  He then led Des Moines Police on a high speed chase from the scene.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On May 17, 2018, Krista Miflin admitted that she had failed to appear on a subpoena in the case of State of Iowa v Miguel Lorenzo Baltazar and was held in contempt of court.  She was sentenced to ninety (90) days in the Polk County Jail.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On May 22, 2018, Emeku Tavia-White appeared for disposition of her probation in several matters.  She had previously stipulated she violated probation by absenting herself from the Women’s Facility where she had been previously ordered to reside as a condition of her probation.  Pending disposition, she was evaluated for mental health and a recommendation was made for placement. The parties agreed and the Court accepted the following agreement:  AS to FECR299628, the Defendant’s Deferred Judgment was revoked and the Defendant was adjudged guilty of the Burglary in the 3rd Degree, Possession of Burglary Tools and Criminal Mischief in the 3rd Degree.  She was sentenced to a total period of incarceration not to exceed five (5) years.  The terms of probation in FECR288874, AGCR292602, SRCR286283 and SRCR289020 were unsuccessfully discharged after a sentence of contempt or 30 days each, concurrent.  The Defendant also entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Escape in SRCR308686 and she was sentenced to a period of 30 days in jail. 

On May 22, 2018 Daniel Smith appeared in FECR310785 and entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Criminal Trespass Causing Damage.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and was taken into custody to fulfill his sentence.

On May 22, 2018 Darius Stogner appeared in FECR305253 and FECR312095.  He previously pled guilty to Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, Trafficking in Stolen Weapons and Theft in the 2nd Degree.  The parties agreed he would be sentenced to and indeterminate term of prison of five years on each offense, consecutive. The Court did sentence him to fifteen years in prison pursuant to the agreement.

On May 29, 2018, Jeffrey Petersen was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, as a second or subsequent offender, in case number FE307772.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twelve (12) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

Sera Alexander Sentencing

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

On April 27, 2018, Sera Alexander was sentenced to a ten-year prison term for the shooting death of her stepfather, Anthony Hartmann. She had entered a guilty plea on March 7, 2018 during the third day of a bench trial on the matter. Ms. Alexander was convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Use of a Firearm Causing Serious Injury.

The evidence at trial showed that on May 8, 2017, the defendant came home after a weekend away and went to her upstairs bedroom to begin unpacking. She then heard Anthony Hartmann's voice downstairs. Months earlier, Mr. Hartmann had been arrested for assaulting the defendant's mother, and a no-contact order had been put in place, prohibiting his entry into the home. That no-contact order had since been lifted at the request of the defendant's mother, but the defendant was not aware of this on May 8, 2017. Once the defendant heard Mr. Hartmann's voice, she grabbed her gun from her dresser and went downstairs to confront him.

The defendant located Mr. Hartmann in the basement, where he was gathering tools to fix the defendant's mother's car. She pointed the gun at him and told him to leave. He responded that he was allowed to be there. She told him that if he didn't leave, she would call the police. He responded, "ok, call the police." She then told him that if he didn't leave, she would shoot him. To that he responded, "fine, shoot me." The defendant then shot three times, hitting him twice, causing his death. The defendant claims that Mr. Hartmann had turned toward her threateningly, but the autopsy showed that both bullets went into his back.

The defendant presented evidence at trial of a significant history of domestic violence in the household for several years. The defendant claimed to be the witness, and occasionally the victim, of such violence. Her attorney argued that this experience colored the defendant's reaction to the encounter in the basement on May 8, 2017. However, the defendant admitted that she acted too quickly, and that her actions were not legally justified.

The defendant was sentenced by the Honorable Scott Rosenberg. She was ordered into the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections for a period not to exceed ten years. As a convicted felon, she will not be permitted to possess a firearm in the future.

This investigation was led by Des Moines Police Department detectives Aaron Entrekin and Lorna Garcia. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorneys Shannon Archer and Kevin Hathaway with assistance from Diane Aldrich and intern Katherine Dick.

The trial and sentencing was held at the Drake Legal Clinic as part of the First Year Trial Practicum, a program that allows students at Drake Law School to observe a trial from beginning to end.

Miguel Lorenzo-Baltazar Verdict

Monday, April 9, 2018

On April 2, 2018, Miguel Lorenzo-Baltazar was convicted by a jury of Murder in the First Degree, a class A felony.  Lorenzo-Baltazar was convicted of shooting and killing Jeffrey Mercado in the 1800 block of Oakland Avenue in Des Moines on July 28, 2017.  Lorenzo-Baltazar will be sentenced on April 17, 2018 and faces a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  The defendant was prosecuted by attorneys of the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau with the assistance of legal assistants Lindsay Morris and Laurie Bence.

Warning: Common Scams

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Polk County Attorney's Office is warning you to be on the lookout for scammers.  If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scammer, contact your local police department to report the crime.

Here are some of the more common scams:

IRS and Tax scams - Scammers will call you, send you emails or messages trying to trick you into thinking you are receiving legitimate communication from the IRS or others in the tax industry.  You need to know the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request your personal or financial information.  If you get a message asking for PIN numbers, passwords, access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts, DO NOT respond, DO NOT open any attachments, and DO NOT click on any links.  Instead forward the message to phishing@irs.gov and then delete the original email.

Sweepstakes and lottery scams - Fraudulent telemarketers will call, claiming you won a sweepstakes, lottery or a vacation.  If they ask you to pay any fees at all to claim your prize, this is a scam.  Hang up and DO NOT PROVIDE ANY PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO THE CALLER.

Sweetheart scams - Scammers will create fake profiles on dating websites, "woo" you and then try to convince you to send them money in the name of love.  Any online love interest who asks for money is probably a scam artist.  DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY FINANCIAL INFORMATION.

Tech support scams - If you get a call from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft, claiming there is a problem with your computer, hang up.  DO NOT GIVEN THEM ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER OR PASSWORDS.  If you give them access to your computer, they can install malicious software (malware) that can steal your financial information.

Grandparent scams - Scammers will call you, pretend they are your grandchild and tell you they are stranded or in jail somewhere and need money wired to them.  If they try to claim they are your grandchild, MAKE SURE THEY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES BY NAME AND THEN VERIFY WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS WHERE YOUR GRANDCHILD IS LOCATED BEFORE SENDING MONEY BASED ON A PHONE CALL.

Jury Duty / Arrest Warrant scams - Callers will tell you that you failed to appear for jury duty and there has been a warrant issued for your arrest.  They will go on to say the warrant will be recalled if you just pay a fine.  Neither the courts nor law enforcement will call you demanding money to take care of a warrant.  This is a scam.  DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY FINANCIAL INFORMATION.  If you have any question whether the caller is legitimate, hang up, look up the number for the Clerk of Court or the law enforcement agency who supposedly issued the warrant and call them.

James Walden Sentencing

Monday, March 12, 2018

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg sentenced James Russell Walden Jr. to life without the possibility of parole in the brutal beating death of Sheila Keenan which happened on March 6, 2017 in Des Moines.  Walden, age sixty, was convicted by a jury on December 11, 2017 of Murder in the First Degree.  County Attorney John Sarcone and Assistant County Attorney James Hathaway prosecuted this case on behalf of the State.

Sera Alexander Plea

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Alexander.PNGOn March 7, 2018, Sera Alexander pled guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Use of a Firearm Causing Serious Injury for the May 8, 2017 shooting death of Anthony Hartmann. The defendant had previously claimed self-defense, but acknowledged during the plea proceeding that her actions were not legally justified.

The manslaughter charge is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The firearm charge is a Class C Felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for April 27, 2018.

The investigation was led by Des Moines Police Department detectives Aaron Entrekin and Lorna Garcia.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorneys Shannon Archer and Kevin Hathaway with the assistance of Diane Aldrich and prosecuting intern Catherine Dick.

Abraham Roberts Verdict

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

RobertsOn January 16, 2018, a Polk County jury found Abraham Roberts guilty of Murder in the First Degree in the shooting death of Agnes Yarlee  which occurred on April 15, 2017 in their apartment in Johnston, Iowa.  Roberts, age 39, fired five shots into Ms. Yarlee, including the fatal shot to her head, as she was sitting on a couch in the apartment living room with the couple’s four month old baby positioned at her feet.  After shooting Ms. Yarlee, Roberts fled the state and was captured the following day when he tried to cross over into Canada from International Falls, Minnesota.  Polk County Attorney John Sarcone and Assistant Polk County Attorney Mike Salvner prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.  The defendant will be sentenced on March 5, 2018.  The penalty for Murder in the First Degree is Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

Devin Carter Sentencing

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Carter.PNGOn October 30, 2017 Devin Marques Carter was sentenced to prison for life without any possibility of parole. He was convicted by jury on September 19, 2017 of Murder in the First Degree of William Dawson, Sr., two counts of Attempt to Commit Murder and Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon.

In the early morning hours of August 6, 2016, Dylan Freeman got into an argument with William “Bill” Dawson Sr. at Johnny Mac’s Bar and Grill on the east side of Des Moines.  The argument was in regards to $7 and a pitcher of beer.  Dylan confronted Bill about it; the two argued and then went outside. They argued across the street and through the parking lot. Realizing a fight was imminent, William “Bub” Dawson, Jr., Carley and two others walked across the street.  Dylan recognized he was outnumbered.  He returned to the bar and sought out his cousin, Steven Freeman.  Steven had been talking to a friend, Devin Carter.  Dylan told Steven he was about to get jumped by some people. Steven went to make the fight even.  Carter followed.  The Dawson group was standing behind a row of parked cars, discussing leaving when Dylan and Steven came around the cars, ready to fight; Carter went around the back of the group.  Dylan and Steven squared off with Bill and Bub.  From behind, shots were fired.  Bill was shot in the back of the head and the back of the leg twice.  He died as a result of the shot to his head. Bub was shot in the back twice and foot twice.  Carley was shot 5 times in the thigh. 

Johnny Mac’s had a surveillance camera positioned on the outside of the bar to survey the parking lot area.  The shooting took place behind the row of parked cars.  Although the surveillance did not capture the actual shooting, it captured the movements of people coming and going before, during and after the shooting. Witnesses had come outside to see the fight and one of them captured Carter on his cell phone camera. The witness can be heard on the video proclaiming that Carter was the shooter.  Steven Freeman positively identified Carter.

Carter gave statements to the police, adamantly denying his involvement.  He repeatedly claimed he was on the smoke deck at the bar when the shooting occurred. The video showed him in the parking lot. Carter communicated with his mom via text which contradicted his statement to the police as well as the video.  

The trial lasted three weeks with nearly 60 witnesses called to testify.  The video surveillance was strong evidence as well as Carter’s interview with the police.  Carter testified on his own behalf and denied involvement. The jury deliberated 4 hours before returning a verdict of guilty as to each of the four charged counts. The jury found Carter acted willfully, with malice aforethought, premeditation and deliberation in shooting to kill Bill Dawson.  The jury found he intended to cause the death of Bub and Carley and in so doing he set in motion a force or chain of events would cause or result in the death of both Bub and Carley.  The jury also found he had discharged a firearm at, into or within an assembly of people with the intent to provoke fear. 

As the Court pronounced sentence, the courtroom was full of family and friends of the Defendant and victims.   A family member read a victim impact statement on behalf of Linda Dawson, Bill’s mother.  She expressed sadness for Devin Carter’s family, who lost their son.  She voiced no regret for her feelings of satisfaction that the Defendant would lose his freedom for the rest of his life.  She pointed out he would still wake up everyday, talk to his family, experience life.  Her son had lost all of those things at the Defendant’s hands.  Although the State requested consecutive sentences to represent the lives of each of the three victims, the court ran the sentences concurrent to each other noting consecutive sentences would not extend the life sentence imposed for murder.

Dre'Sean Barber Verdict

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Barber.PNGOn Monday, October 1, 2017, Polk County Jurors found defendant Dre'Sean Barber guilty of Murder in the Second Degree for the shooting death of Edmanuel Perez  on November 29,2015.  Barber was also found guilty of Assault with Intent to Inflict a Serious Injury on Andrew Hurley-Boyd, who was also shot on the same date. Barber, age 26, will be sentenced by Judge Karen Romano on November 17, 2017 and faces up to 52 years in prison.  Under Iowa's mandatory minimum laws, Barber will have to serve at least 70% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The bar where the incident took place, Carbon, at 216 Court Avenue, nearly lost its license after this 2015  shooting. In 2016, the bar's owner signed a "good neighbor" agreement that required the bar to install 24-hour security cameras and hire security guards. Ultimately, after a second shooting in February 2017 and after being cited with several city violations for allowing underage patrons into the bar and serving at least one underage patron, the Des Moines City Council revoked the liquor license for Carbon.

Kyle Jepson Sentencing

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Image may contain: 1 personOn September 29, 2017 Kyle Jepson pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree and Burglary in the Second Degree, both as sexually motivated offenses. Jepson, who had originally been charged with Murder in the First Degree, was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Robert Blink to a term not to exceed 60 years in prison with a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of 35 years before he is eligible for parole. He will be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender and will be reviewed for civil commitment proceedings before any parole. The plea agreement was entered with the input of the family of the homicide victim, Gloria Gary. The case was prosecuted by Olu Salami and Jeff Noble with the legal assistance of Pam Wheeler.

Terry Rote Sentencing

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rote.PNGOn August 15, 2017, Terri Lynn Rote was sentenced following her guilty plea to Election Misconduct in the First Degree, a Class D Felony. Rote was charged after she was caught voting twice in the 2016 general election.

Due to the serious nature of the offense, the State resisted the defendant's request for a deferred judgment. Over the State's resistance, Judge Robert Hanson granted the defendant a deferred judgment, allowing her conviction to be expunged following successful completion of her term of probation. As a requirement of probation, the defendant has been ordered to obtain a mental health evaluation and follow through with all recommended treatment.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorney Kevin Bell.

Travis West Verdict

Monday, April 3, 2017

WestOn March 31, 2017 a Polk County Jury found Travis Raymond Wayne West guilty of the crimes of Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class D Felony, and Delivery of Heroin, a Class C Felony, for directly supplying 26 year old Bailey Brady of West Des Moines, Iowa with the heroin that caused her death.  Sentencing is currently set for May 18, 2017.  The defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison on the Involuntary Manslaughter charge and a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison on the Heroin Delivery charge.   This case was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney Office's Drug and Gang Bureau.  

Keyon Harrison Verdict

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Harrison.PNGOn October 10, 2016, Keyon Harrison was convicted of Felony Murder in the First Degree for his participation in the shooting death of Aaron McHenry on November 7, 2014 near the intersection of 26th Street and Hickman Lane in Des Moines.  Sentencing is set for November 22, 2016 before the Honorable Judge Paul Scott. This case was prosecuted by Shannon Archer and Jeff Noble with the Polk County Attorney's Office.  The lead investigator for the Des Moines Police Department was Brad Youngblut. 

Wadsworth Verdict

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wadsworth.PNGOn August 30, 2016 Norman Charles Wadsworth was found guilty by a Polk County jury of Murder in the Second Degree for the stabbing death of Darlene Crook. The stabbing occurred in the afternoon on October 15, 2014 at an apartment building located at 700 East 5th Street in Des Moines, Iowa.

The defendant previously lived in the apartment building, which was managed by the victim, Ms. Crook. Examination of the body showed that the defendant stabbed the victim approximately 70 times. The defendant was originally charged with Murder in the First Degree, but was convicted of the lesser-included offense following testimony presented by the defense regarding the defendant's mental health.

The Honorable Judge Paul Scott presided over the trial.

Sentencing is currently set for October 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 209A of the Polk County Courthouse.  The defendant is currently being held in the Polk County Jail pending sentencing in this case.

Polk County Sheriff: Don't Fall for Phone Scams

Thursday, August 18, 2016

REMINDER - FRAUDULENT PHONE SCAMS REPORTED ACROSS POLK COUNTY

On Wednesday, August 17th a 79 year old woman received a phone call from a male suspect claiming to be her grandson. The suspect caller told the victim that she needed to send a MoneyGram in the amount of $2,000 so he could get out of jail. The suspect stated that he was involved in car accident and had a broken nose; this gave reason to the victim why the caller did not sound like her grandson.

A short time after sending the requested money the suspect called back stating that he needed an additional $2,000 since a baby had died in the accident. At this point the victim realized that the phone call was a scam and contacted authorities.

This type of activity is a crime and will be investigated and taken very seriously. Anyone receiving this type of telephone notification should not comply with payment. If a call like this is received, don’t offer revealing personal information and ask specific questions. Anything suspicious in nature should be reported to local law enforcement.

Click Here to see a list of some of the more popular phone scams being reported in Polk County.

Please be vigilant and spread the word to your friends, family and coworkers.

Nearly $90,000 in Victim Restitution Recovered

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Department of Human Services, the Polk County Sheriff’s Department and the Polk County Attorney's Office, a victim of elder financial exploitation has recovered $89,400.  The victim’s perpetrator was arrested, charged, and pled guilty to Dependent Adult Abuse – Financial Exploitation.  The perpetrator was granted a deferred judgment and placed on probation. 

In Iowa, a person that receives a deferred judgment must abide by all the terms of their probation, including paying Court fines and restitution, before their record is expunged.  Through the diligence of the Polk County Attorney Collection Unit and the Restorative Justice Center, the victim in this case was made whole and received payment in full for restitution. 

This case is an outstanding example of the steps taken to ensure that everyone involved received justice, including both the victim and the perpetrator.  The perpetrator can feel a sense of satisfaction that she was able to successfully complete her probation and have her record expunged--no easy feat considering the amount of the restitution involved.

Although the emotional scars may still remain, it is rewarding to know that the victim has been financially restored to a pre-crime level. 

Patrick Kirwan Sentencing

Monday, June 6, 2016

Kirwan.JPGOn June 3, 2016, Patrick Kirwan was sentenced after a jury convicted him of Murder in the Second Degree for the shooting death of his neighbor, Mark Hruska. Murder in the Second Degree carries a mandatory 50 year prison sentence with a requirement that he shall be denied parole or work release unless he has served at least seven-tenths of the maximum term of his sentence.  At the sentencing hearing the parents of the decedent gave powerful victim impact statements.  Mr. Kirwan declined to exercise his right of allocution.   Detective Brad Youngblut of the DMPD was the lead investigator on the case.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorneys Michael Hunter and Mike Salvner, with the instrumental assistance of Legal Assistant Lindsay Morris.

Tarry Pote Sentencing

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pote.JPGFormer Des Moines Police Officer Tarry Pote was sentenced on May 10, 2016 for a Class C Felony, Theft in the First Degree for theft of approximately $22,000 from the Des Moines Police Department Weight Lifting Club.  Pote’s request for a Deferred Judgment was denied.  The Honorable Judge William Kelly gave the defendant a ten year suspended sentence and two years of probation.  By prior agreement and in support of his request for probation, the defendant agreed to pay the full $22,000 in restitution on May 10, 2016.

Rodriguez Verdict Announced

Friday, May 6, 2016

Leyva.JPGOn May 6, 2016, a Polk County jury returned verdicts against defendant, Jonathan Leyva Rodriguez.  The defendant was charged with six crimes for events occurring in August of 2015.   Defendant struck and killed 41 year old Wade Franck and injured two other bike riders during the Urban Assault bicycling event.  After striking the riders, defendant fled the scene.  The jury convicted Rodriguez of Vehicular Homicide, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, two counts of Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident, Driving While Barred and Driving While Intoxicated.   The case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorneys Mike Hunter and Olu Salami.  The lead investigators were Des Moines Police Officers Dom Ouimet and Mike Dixson.  Sentencing is set for June 17, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 209A of the Polk County Courthouse before the Honorable Paul Scott.  

Please be safe.  Do not drink and drive.  

Kirwan Verdict

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kirwan.JPGOn April 14, 2016 Patrick Kirwan was found guilty of Murder in the Second Degree for the death of Mark Hruska.  Hruska was shot seven times and killed March 1, 2015 at 321 SE Diehl St.  Des Moines, Iowa.

The case was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department, the Des Moines Police Department Identification Section, the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.  The lead investigator for the Des Moines Police Department was detective Brad Youngblut.

Sentencing is currently set for June 3, 2016 at 8:15 a.m. in Courtroom 208 of the Polk County Courthouse.  The defendant is currently being held in the Polk County Jail pending sentencing in this case.

Richard Shawhan Sentencing

Friday, April 15, 2016

Richard Gene Shawhan, a career criminal, was sentenced on April 14, 2016, to fifty years in prison for the beating death of Jeff Butts after being convicted by a jury of Murder in the Second Degree. In December 2014, Jeff let Shawhan stay with him as Shawhan had escaped and was on the run from the Fort Des Moines Correctional Facility.  On December 27, 2014, Shawhan, for unknown reasons, struck Jeff in the head three times with a baseball bat while Jeff was sleeping.  Jeff succumbed to his injuries on January 4, 2015.  Jeff is survived by his three children and his long-term girlfriend.  Shawhan will have to serve a minimum thirty-five years prior to be considered for parole.  

Lavelle McKinley Sentencing

Thursday, March 10, 2016

On January 16, 2013, Lavelle McKinley, age 42, was arrested and charged with Murder in the First Degree in the beating and strangulation death of Cynthia Rouse whose body was found in her Des Moines apartment on January 14, 2013.  This case took much longer than normal to resolve because of a pre-trial ruling made by the district court that McKinley’s public defenders should not be representing him because the public defender’s office had represented the victim’s husband in a previous unrelated case and had also represented several witnesses in other unrelated cases.  An interlocutory appeal of that ruling was granted by the Iowa Supreme Court but it wasn’t until March 31, 2015 that the Supreme Court filed an opinion which essentially determined that McKinley’s attorneys did not have a conflict of interest and that they could continue to represent him. 

On February 15, 2016 pursuant to a plea agreement, McKinley pled guilty to Murder in the Second Degree and Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree with those sentences to be served consecutive to one another.  Murder in the Second Degree is a Class B felony which has a special sentence of fifty years in prison.  Murder in the Second Degree is a forcible felony which requires the defendant to be sentenced to prison and in addition he must serve 70% of this sentence before he would be eligible for parole.  Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree is a Class B felony which has a sentence of twenty-five years in prison.  Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree is a forcible felony which requires the defendant to be sentenced to prison and in addition he must serve 70% of this sentence before he would be eligible for parole. 

On March 9, 2016, Judge Robert Hanson, sentenced McKinley to fifty years in prison on the Murder in the Second Degree charge and to twenty-five years on the Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree charge.  Judge Hanson required that these sentences be served consecutively which means that McKinley will have to serve fifty-two and one half years of mandatory prison time before he will be eligible for any type of parole.  McKinley will essentially spend the remainder of his life in prison for these violent and unprovoked crimes.  Assistant County Attorney Nan Horvat and Polk County Attorney John Sarcone prosecuted this case.

Ngor Makuey Sentencing

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

On January 4, 2016, Ngor Peter Makuey was sentenced to life in prison plus two years.

Makuey’s life sentence was imposed for the July 2, 2014 murder of 97-year-old Rupert Anderson.  The court imposed a consecutive two year sentence for an assault on Rupert’s wife, 94-year-old Harriet Anderson on the same day. 

In addition to counts of murder and assault, Makuey was also found guilty of Robbery in the First Degree and Burglary in the First Degree.  Sentences for those crimes were ordered to run concurrently with the homicide sentence.

Makuey, who lived nearby the Andersons, was convicted of breaking into the Anderson’s home and attacking the couple with a stainless steel grilling spatula.  Both victims suffered injuries inflicted by this weapon.  Despite their ages and the trauma inflicted on both Harriet and Rupert Anderson, both victims managed to get off calls for help.  Rupert Anderson activated a “Life Alert” device and Harriet dialed 911.  Because of the victim’s actions, police responded to the scene quickly.  Makuey was on the scene, but outside the residence when police arrived.  As police tended to the victims, the defendant fled the immediate area.

Despite his successful flight from the scene, quick thinking by Des Moines Police Officer Darin Miller, allowed officers to take Makuey into custody within an hour of the 911 call.  First responders had been accompanied by a COPS television crew.   The COPS crew captured a video image of the defendant when police arrived.  Miller captured a still image from the COPS video on his (Miller’s) cell phone.  With that image, Miller canvassed the area and found the defendant at his (Makuey’s) home shortly after his escape. Clothing with Harriet Anderson’s blood was found in the same room as the defendant.  The spatula was later also recovered from Makuey’s home.

Makuey served notice of Diminished Capacity and Insanity Defenses and waived his right to a jury trial.  The case went to trial before the Honorable Judge Jeffrey Farrell beginning on November 5, 2015.  Judge Farrell returned verdicts on December 11, 2015 finding the defendant guilty of Murder in the First Degree, Assault with Intent to cause Serious Injury, Robbery in the First Degree and Burglary in the First Degree.

The work of the Des Moines Police Department (in particular Officer Darin Miller, Detectives Lorna Garcia and Brad Youngblut and numerous members of the DMPD Identification Unit) was instrumental in the follow-up investigation and successful prosecution of Makuey.   Similarly, the analysis provided by the DNA section of the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation provided information critical to this prosecution. 

KCCI: How the state deals with OWI Offenders

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Petithory Metcalf Sentencing

Monday, September 8, 2014

On July 21, 2014, a Polk County jury found Miranda Rose Petithory Metcalf guilty of the crime of Murder in the Second Degree in the stabbing death of Juan Carlos Chavarria.  Petithory Metcalf had been charged with Murder in the First Degree in Chavarria’s death which occurred in a south side apartment in the early morning hours of November 29, 2013 but the jury found her guilty of Murder in the Second Degree.  On Friday, September 5, 2014, District Court Judge Karen Romano sentenced Petithory Metcalf to a term of fifty years in prison which by statute requires Petithory Metcalf to serve 70% of that sentence before she would be eligible for parole.  Petithory Metcalf was also ordered to pay all court costs, restitution, court appointed attorney fees and to pay the estate of the victim $150, 000.  Polk County Attorney John Sarcone and Assistant County Attorney Nan Horvat prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.

Russell & Shorter Sentencing

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On July 25, 2014, Yarvon Russell and James Shorter appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal numbers FECR269513 and FECR269510 respectively for sentencing. Russell and Shorter were convicted by a Polk County jury of Murder in the Second Degree for their parts in the August 2013 beating death of Richard Daughenbaugh near Second Ave. and the Des Moines River pedestrian bridge. Russell and Shorter were each sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 50 years and must serve 70% of the sentence before being eligible for parole. Russell was also sentenced to terms of incarceration not to exceed two years and five years respectively upon the revocation of his probation on a charge of Carrying Weapons and a separate charge of Carrying Weapons on School Grounds.

Those sentences were ordered to be served concurrently with each other but consecutively to the 50 years sentence for Murder in the Second Degree. Russell and Shorter join a third codefendant, Kent Tyler, III, who was convicted and sentenced for Murder in the Second Degree in late 2013. Russell and Shorter were prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

Contact Us

Polk County Attorney's Office
Polk County Justice Center
222 Fifth Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: (515) 286-3737
Fax: (515) 286-3428
Email: ctyatty@polkcountyiowa.gov