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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 (August 2018)

Friday, August 31, 2018

On August 3, 2018, Douglas Louis Frazier appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR315429.  Frazier pleaded guilty to Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver (in excess of five grams of methamphetamine) and Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp.  Frazier was sentenced to terms of imprisonment not to exceed 25 years and five years respectively.  Frazier must serve a mandatory minimum one-third of the 25 year sentence prior to being eligible for parole.  The mandatory minimum was reduced by one-third based on Frazier's acceptance of responsibility and the sentences are to be served concurrently.  Frazier was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang bureau.

On August 10, 2018, William Hickey plead guilty and was sentenced for the crimes of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, as a second or subsequent offender, and Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp, a Class D felony, as a habitual offender, in case number FE313665.  He will be sentenced on September 28, 2018 and faces a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed seventy-five (75) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole and a fifteen (15) year term with a mandatory minimum three year term.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 10, 2018, Nicoli Hoffman plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Theft in the Second Degree, a Class D felony, and was sentenced for 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 numbers FE307287 and FE316570.  She was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed five (5) years, ten (10) years and five (5) years, consecutive, for a term not to exceed twenty (20) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 14, 2018, Scott Savely plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, in case number FE316270.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 14, 2018, Bobby Palmer plead guilty to the crimes of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, as a second or subsequent offender, and Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp, a Class D felony, as a habitual offender, in case number FE315054.  He will be sentenced on September 25, 2018 and faces a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed seventy-five (75) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole and fifteen (15) years with a mandatory minimum term of three years he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 22, 2018, Timothy Gorman appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR310235 for sentencing.  Gorman earlier pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance (in excess of 50 kilos of marijuana).  Gorman was sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years.  Gorman was convicted of conspiring to deliver over 120 pounds of marijuana as well as over eight pounds of marijuana wax and edibles.  Law enforcement seized in excess of $142,000.00 from Gorman during this investigation.  Gorman was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 24, 2018, Hasan Newsom appeared for a bond review hearing in FECR303815.  He is being held in jail on a report of probation.  He had several rule violations while at the Fort Des Moines Facility, where he is court ordered to reside on a charge of Burglary in the 2nd Degree.  The Court declined to change his bond. 

On August 24, 2018, Jesuita Turner appeared for a bond review hearing in FECR313457.  She previously entered a plea of guilty to Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree and then failed to attend a meeting with the Department of Corrections for her presentence investigation.  She also failed to appear for her sentencing date.  She was arrested on a new offense of domestic abuse assault. The Defendant requested $5000 cash or surety bond. The State resisted. The Court set bond at $10,000 cash only.

On August 24, 2018, Ellis Wilson appeared in FECR318635 for a bond review.  He asked the Court to reduce his bond by half. The Court noted he has a non-extraditable warrant from New Hampshire and that bond is currently set consistent with the uniform bond schedule.  The Court declined to modify his bond.

On August 24, 2018, Brittany Ann Ferguson appeared in several cases for a probation violation on charges of: FECR288666- Forgery, FECR288771 -Forgery, FECR284049 -Burglary 2nd Degree and FECR284383- Forgery.  She stipulated she violated the terms of her probation by failing to attend appointments and committing a new offense.  She was found in contempt and ordered to serve 5 days in jail.  She will remain in jail pending placement at Clearview Recovery in Prairie City, where she will be required to reside as a condition of her probation. 

 

On August 24, 2018, Matthew Golden appeared in FECR315675 and entered a plea of guilty to the offenses of Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, Threats Alternative (Class C Felony), Harassment 1st Degree and Possession of Marijuana.  He admitted he threatened to fire a weapon at or into a motor vehicle occupied by one or more persons with the intent to provoke fear, that he threatened to kill the occupant, and that he was in possession of marijuana.  He will be sentenced on October 5, 2018.

On August 27, 2018, Tyrone Jermaine Avant appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR319149.  Avant pleaded guilty to Delivery of a Controlled Substance (cocaine base "crack") and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years.  This sentence must be served consecutively to the revocation of his parole for a previous drug felony.  Avant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 27, 2018, Aisha Tacole Washington appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR319213.  Washington pleaded guilty to Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver (heroin) and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years.  The sentence was suspended and Washington was placed on probation for a period of two years and must pay a $1,000.00 fine.  Washington was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 28, 2018, Anthony Marquez plead guilty and was sentenced for the crimes of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, in case number FE316563 and Eluding, a Class D felony, in case number FE312759.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole and a five (5) year term, concurrent.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On August 28, 2018, Julie Adams 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 FE317542.  She will be sentenced on October 16, 2018 and faces a maximum indeterminate 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 August 29, 2018, Morgan Elizabeth Kerr appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR314973.  Kerr pleaded guilty to Neglect of a Dependent Person, a class C felony, involving the possession and use of illegal drugs in a place her two-year-old child could access.  Kerr will be sentenced in October 2018.  Kerr was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

Felony Case Summary (July 2018)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

On July 5, 2018, Romain Turner appeared for sentencing in FECR311221.  He previously pled guilty to Failure to Comply with the Sex Offender Registry, 2nd or Subsequent Offense.  The parties agreed he should be given an opportunity for probation. The Court imposed a five (5) year sentence and suspended it, placing the Defendant will be on probation for three (3) years. 

On July 5, 2018, Jannett Abdallah appeared in FECR314414 and entered a plea of guilty to the charges of Eluding, Serious Injury by Vehicle-Reckless and Possession of Methamphetamine.  She admitted she did operate a vehicle and was pursued by police.  She failed to yield after being given an audible and visual (lights and sirens) signal by a uniformed police officer in a market patrol car. She traveled at speeds of 65 mph in a 25 mph residential zone.  She ran several stop signs.  She finally stopped when she hit another vehicle.  The occupant of the vehicle which was struck suffered serious injury including a broken ankle, ribs, discs in her back and sternum.  She is now confined to a wheelchair.  The Defendant also admitted she was in possession of methamphetamine when she was in the vehicle.  She will remain in jail pending further hearing and will be sentenced August 13, 2018.

On July 6, 2018, Martelis Thompson appeared in FECR314812 for purposes of a bond review.  The defendant requested he be released with Supervision by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The Fifth Judicial District-Polk County has a pre-trial release program which enables persons to be released from custody with supervision by DCS under various level of supervision.  Pre-trial release reported to the Court they could and would supervise the Defendant when released and would require him to reside with his 21 year old brother. The State resisted because the brother is on parole and has a criminal history which includes domestic violence and drug offenses.  The Court determined the Defendant could reside with his brother so long as DCS supervised him at the highest level of supervision.   He will be required to appear for his arraignment later in July.

On July 6, 2018, Marek Kline appeared in FECR312871 and FECR312883. He had previously entered a plea of guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, to the charges of Theft 2nd Degree (2 counts), Assault on a Peace Officer with a Dangerous Weapon and Forgery.  The plea agreement called for the Defendant to be granted probation.  The charge of Assault on a Peace Officer required the Court to send him to prison.  Because the plea was entered in reliance on an agreement which was not valid, the Defendant sought to withdraw his plea to that offense.  He entered a plea to the amended charge of Interference –Displaying a Dangerous Weapon.  The Defendant waived time and sought to proceed with sentencing . The State requested suspended consecutive sentences.  The offenses involved different victims.  The Defendant requested a DJ citing his substance abuse addiction as a reason for his actions.  The Court granted his request for a Deferred Judgment citing his lack of criminal history, his youth and his willingness to obtain substance abuse treatment.

On July 6, 2018, Maria Kern appeared on a probation violation in FECR302121.  She admitted she violated certain terms and conditions of her probation.  She was found in contempt and ordered to serve 22 days in custody and then continued on probation.  She will be released on July 9, 2018 and is to return to her residence at Optimae.  She was given the additional requirements to comply with programming at Optimae, comply with mental health and substance abuse treatment, provide random UAs and obtain a protective payee. 

On July 6, 2018, Michael Williams appeared in several matters. He pled guilty to Eluding in FECR314210 and Possession of Methamphetamine as a 2nd or subsequent offense in FECR315268.  He asked the Court to immediately sentence him and the Court did sentence him to five and two  years in prison, respectively.  The Court did imposed a total sentence of five years.  A number of other offenses were dismissed with an agreement the Defendant would make restitution and pay costs for all matters dismissed.  He still has a matter pending in Warren County for a violation of his probation and will be transferred to Warren County for disposition of that offense.

On July 10, 2018, Ashley Flores was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, in case number FE304746.  She was sentenced to a maximum indeterminate term not to exceed ten years, but this sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation for two years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 10, 2018, Joseph Hellickson in FECR301199 for a probation violation hearing. After hearing the court found the defendant failed to follow court orders to provide documentation of a mental health evaluation and attend an appointment with his probation officer on a date specified, using an apparatus or device to alter a UA test and providing a positive UA for methamphetamine. The state sought revocation of his probation. The defendant requested additional time to allow additional testimony regarding his sentence. The court ordered the defendant into custody and held without bond pending disposition. Disposition is scheduled for July 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm.

On July 17, 2018, Marsha Wessel was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, in case number FE313016.  Judgment was deferred and she was placed on probation for two years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 17, 2018, Kaylie Hill was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class C felony, in case number FE313013.  Judgment was deferred and she was placed on probation for two years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 23, 2018, Eric Welcher plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, as a second or subsequent offender, in case number FE315740.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed thirty-five (35) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole and this sentence as ordered to run consecutively to defendant’s parole revocation.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 23, 2018, Jason Sitzman plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp, a Class D felony, and Eluding, a Class D felony, in case number FE311918.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years with a mandatory one-third term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole, five (5) years and five (5) years, to run consecutively to each other.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 24, 2018, David Brown was sentenced for 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 was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed ten (10) years and five (5) years, consecutive, but this sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for two years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 24, 2018, Kha Len Price-Williams appeared in FECR311978 and entered a plea of guilty to the offenses of Eluding and Carrying Weapons.  He admitted he was driving a vehicle and drove the wrong way on a one way and struck a curb.  A Des Moines Police Officer, wearing a police uniform and driving a marked patrol car, activated his lights and sirens.  Price-Williams accelerated away at a high rate of speed, traveling 60 mph in a 25 mph residential zone.  When he stopped, he fled on foot. He admitted he was in possession of a pistol, for which he had no permit. He will be sentenced in September. 

On July 24, 2018 Joshua Potter entered a plea of guilty in FECR314007 to the charge of Fraudulent Practice in the 1st Degree. He admitted he collected unemployment for a period of time while he was working, by falsely reporting a lack of income to Iowa Workforce Development.  He asked the Court to sentence him today.  He was granted a suspended sentencing, in consideration of his lack of substantial criminal history.  He will be required to pay over $16,000 back to IWD during a 2 year probation period.

On July 24, 2018 Marissa Merck appeared to enter a plea of guilty in FECR308216 on the charges of Arson 2nd Degree and Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree and in FECR318865 on the charge of Failure to Appear.  She admitted she did start a fire in a residence with the intent to destroy or damage that residence and that she did damage to property, by driving a car in to a garage door, which cost over $1000 to repair. She also admitted she willfully failed to appear for two court hearings in which she had been charged with a felony offense.  The Court accepted the pleas and set the matter for disposition on August. 31, 2018.  She will remain in jail pending her sentence at which time the parties will be free to argue for any sentence. 

On July 24, 2018 Zachcleeyor Innis appeared for sentencing in FECR278154 on the charges of Burglary in the 2nd Degree and two counts of Credit Card Fraud, in AGCR299926 on the charge of Interference with Official Acts causing Bodily Injury and in FECR312878 on the charge of Perjury. He previously pled guilty to these offenses and a pre-sentence investigation report was prepared.  The Court heard arguments of counsel and statements of the Defendant. The Defendant asked the Court to grant him a Deferred Judgment on the two charges-Burglary and Perjury and a suspended sentence on the remaining charges, all misdemeanors. The Defendant argued that because he was born in a war torn country, came to the United States and lived in a gang infested neighborhood in Chicago, and then moved to Iowa, he should be given a chance to prove himself a better person and be granted probation now that he is an adult and can appreciate the consequences of his actions.  He apologized to the Court and to his family for disappointing them. The State argued for imprisonment.  The Defendant is 21 years old.  He was given the opportunity to participate in a diversion program, which would have allowed him to have his matters reduced to nothing greater than a misdemeanor and request a deferred judgment. The Defendant entered the Youthful Offender Program (YOP) in 2014. He has had several violations and programming interventions while in the adult system. He was placed in Meyer Hall, jail, Fort Des Moines.  He admitted he was drinking daily in violation of YOP rules.  Previously, he had several programming and court interventions while a juvenile, including placement in the State Training school. The State asked for 17 years imprisonment. The Court balanced the best chance for rehabilitation for the Defendant against protection of the public. The Court acknowledged the Defendant’s history and that he has endured things in his young life that no child should have to endure.  The Court noted Defendant’s multitude of interventions while in YOP.  The Court denied the Defendant’s request and sentenced him to prison.  The Court declined to follow the State’s request for consecutive sentenced and sentenced him to a total period of incarceration  not to exceed ten (10) years.

On July 24, 2018, Christian Shamir Sarraff appeared in Polk County District Court in criminal number FECR310236.  Sarraff was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years for Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance (in excess of 50 kilos of marijuana).  Sarraff must pay D.A.R.E. and Law Enforcement Initiative surcharges and provide a D.N.A. sample.  Sarraff was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney's Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 24, 2018, Alise Von Drak AKA Lisa Owens plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, in case number FE312465.  She was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five (25) years with a mandatory one-third term she must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On July 25, 2018, Trina Gomez appeared in FECR312867 for sentencing. She previously entered a plea of guilty to Fraudulent Practice in the 3rd Degree as part of a plea agreement, in which she admitted she made fraudulent entries in her employment in the insurance industry, which cost the company a loss of over $500.  The actual loss to the company was in excess of $12,000 due to her fraudulent entries. The Defendant asked the Court to grant her a deferred judgment, to which the State agreed.  She will be on probation for two years and is required to make full restitution.

On July 24, 2018 Thomas Griffiths appeared in FECR315788 and FECR315236 and entered pleas of guilty to two counts of Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree.  He admitted he damaged property belonging to two different people on two different occasions the cost to repair or replace being in excess of $1000.  He will be sentenced September 5, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.

On July 25, 2018 Jessica Samuelson appeared in FECR313901 to enter a plea of guilty to the charge of Identity Theft.  She admitted she used the identifying information of another person to obtain credit on which she then charged of $10,000.  She will be sentenced on September 6, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

On July 25, 2018  Patrick Bown appeared in ACGR314859 and entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Theft in the 2nd Degree.  He admitted he took a saw from his employer with the intent to pawn it.  The value of the saw was over $1000.  He will be sentenced on September 6, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

On July 25, 2018 James Vasey appeared in SRCR310843 and entered a plea of guilty to Assault causing Injury.  He acknowledged in a written plea of guilty that he assaulted a man without justification and caused him injury. He was sentenced to two days in jail and given credit for time served and a No Contact Order was entered precluding him from having contact with the victim for five years.

On July 25 2018 Lynne Gillen appeared for sentencing in FECR313044 on the charge of Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree.  She requested the Court grant her a deferred judgment and place her on two years probation. The Court granted that request as there was no resistance from the State.  The Court required her to participate in mental health and substance abuse treatment, make restitution and provide random UA’s as requested. The Court also entered a No Contact Order precluding her from having contact with the victim of this crime.  She also appeared for sentencing in OWOM084692 on the charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated.  She provided a breath test which indicated her blood alcohol was higher than .150.  As such, she is not, under Iowa Code, allowed to receive a Deferred Judgement.  She was granted a suspended sentence on this offense and will be required to participate in a 2 day OWI program.  A charge of Driving While Revoked was dismissed as part of the overall plea agreement.

On July 25, 2018, Anita McLaughlin appeared in FECR312452 for sentencing, having previously pled guilty to the charges of Theft in the 2nd Degree and False Report of an Indictable Offense to a Public Entity.  Given her relative lack of criminal history and upon agreement of the parties, the Court granted her request for a Deferred Judgment. She will be on probation for two years.  She will be required to continue with mental health counseling,  make restitution and comply with whatever other terms or conditions her probation officer might require. 

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