Attorney’s Office

Felony Case Summary (January 2019)

On January 3, 2019, Michael Richard appeared for sentencing in FECR318767.  He previously entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  The Department of Corrections recommended he be  given the opportunity for probation. Although he has had several prior offenses, his criminal history is remote and he was successful on his probation in the past.  The State agreed to defer to the Department of Corrections recommendation.  The Court imposed a five (5) year prison sentence but suspended it and required the Defendant to be on probation for two (2) years, maintain employment, pay a fine and comply with all conditions required by the Department of Corrections.

On January 3, 2019, Mindy Sue Macias appeared and entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Forgery.  She admitted she negotiated a check she knew she had not right to present and knowing she was perpetrating a fraud. Although she is currently on probation for an offense for which she was granted a deferred judgment, the parties agreed she should be afforded an opportunity for her 2nd deferred judgment as this current offense predated her prior offense.  The Court did follow the parties’ agreement and granted the defendant a deferred judgment. She will be on probation for two (2) years.

On January 3, 2019, Elizabeth Knickerbocker appeared in FECR317632 for sentencing on the charges of two counts of Dependent Adult Abuse. She previously admitted to taking advantage of the victim in this case, an elder person, for financial gain.  During her sentencing, she apologized for her actions and expressed regret and remorse. The parties agreed she should be afforded the opportunity for a deferred judgement.  The Court placed her on probation for two years during which time she must maintain employment, make restitution and abide by a no contact order.

On January 3, 2019, Richard Duncan appeared in FECR317539 for sentencing on the charges of Dependent Adult Abuse and Credit Card Fraud over $1000. He previously admitted to taking advantage of the victim in this case, an elder person, for financial gain.  The parties agreed he should be afforded the opportunity for a deferred judgement.  The Court placed him on probation for two years during which time he must obtain a substance abuse evaluation and comply with recommended treatment, provide random UA’s maintain employment, make restitution and abide by a no contact order.

On January 8, 2019, Freedom Handy 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 FE320429.  She will be sentenced on February 21, 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 January 8, 2019, Craig Mendenhall plead guilty to 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 FE319766.  He will be sentenced on February 25, 2019 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.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On January 11, 2019, Alonzo Gibbs was sentenced for the crimes of Intimidation With a Dangerous Weapon, a Class C felony, while in the possession of a dangerous weapon and Possession, Receipt, Transportation or Dominion and Control Over a Firearm as a Felon, a Class D felony, in case number FE313038.  He was sentenced to a maximum term of incarceration not to exceed ten (10) years with a mandatory five year term he must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole and a five (5) year term, consecutive, for a total of fifteen (15) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On January 11, 2019, Terrance Cheeks and Leshaun Murray pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree and were sentenced to 50 years in prison for the death of Mike Wasike. The defendants were previously convicted of robbing Mr. Wasike. During the course of the robbery, Defendant Murray struck Mr. Wasike, causing injuries that ultimately took his life. Mr. Wasike died on January 22, 2018. The Court ruled that the defendants' sentences would run concurrently for a total term of incarceration not to exceed 50 years. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Polk County Attorneys Shannon Archer and Jeff Noble with the help of legal assistant Kelsey Hannam.

On January 14, 2019, Tracy Gryp plead guilty and was sentenced for the crimes of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, two counts, a Class B felony and a Class D felony, and Failure to Possess a Tax Stamp, two counts, Class D felonies, in case number FE306910.  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 and three five (5) year terms, consecutive, for a total of forty (40) years.  This defendant was prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Bureau.

On January 15, 2019, Terrie Marie Porter was sentenced for the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver, a Class B felony, in case number FE309799.  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 January 23, 2019, Christine Godwin (FECR321455) and Marie Swier (FECR321465) each appeared, as co-defendants, and entered pleas of guilty to three (3) counts of Forgery for their role in a scheme to defraud several banks and victims.  They each admitted they were recruited by someone else, given checks and directed to cash them.  They were given a part of the cash as payment.  They admitted to uttering checks as it related to three victims.  Ms. Godwin also admitted she was driving when the police were trying to pursue her and she did not stop for officers and attempted to elude capture.  They will each be sentenced on March 8, 2019. 

On January 23, 2019, Defendant Bobby Ray Washington appeared in FECR320758 and entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Theft in the 2nd Degree.  The Defendant admitted he and another stole a generator from the Des Moines Public Schools.  He will be sentenced March 7, 2019.

On January 23, 2019, Defendant Billie Jo Brown appeared in FECR317329 for sentencing on the offenses of Theft in the 2nd Degree and Interference causing Injury as well as a plea in FECR320736 on the offenses of Forgery-3 counts.  She admitted she took payroll checks from Hy-Vee for three employees and cashed them without any authority to do so.  She apologized to the Court and expressed remorse.  She explained her goals and plan for the future.  She has been on pretrial release since her initial plea, including abiding by a curfew of 6 p.m. She is working with a therapist and a medical doctor. She has also enrolled in promise jobs and is planning to work towards obtaining a CNA.  The State urged the Court to impose sentence and grant her probation with certain conditions. She asked the Court to grant her deferred judgements on the matters and require conditions of probation.  The Court considered both arguments and the statements of the Defendant.  The Court granted her request for Deferred Judgment finding she had done several things to better herself in advance of this hearing; however, the Court did enter judgment as to the Interference causing injury offense.  She was placed on probation for two years with several conditions.

On January 30, 2019, Jeffrey Lee appeared in FECR317609 and entered a plea of guilty to one count of Forgery.  He admitted he negotiated a check without permission or authority in furtherance of a fraud.  He will be sentenced in March. Pending sentence he may be released to the Bridges of Iowa when space is available.  He must remain at Bridges of Iowa with full compliance of programming and rules pending his sentenced.

On January 30, 2019, Melissa Jo Kain appeared in FECR321120 and entered a plea of guilty to Theft in the 2nd Degree.  She admitted she stole a truck which did not belong to her and intended to deprive the owner thereof permanently, and did remove the license plates to further conceal the correct ownership of the vehicle.  The Defendant asked to be immediately sentenced and was granted a suspended five (5) year sentence and placed on probation for two (2) years.

On January 30, 2019, Vedran Tadic appeared in several matters and entered a plea of guilty in FEC313914 to Burglary in the 3rd Degree and Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree and in AGCR321254 he pled guilty to Possession of Burglar Tools.  He previously stipulated he violated the terms and conditions of his probation in FECR313914 and SRCR314036.  His attorney represented that the Department of Corrections has already screened the Defendant for placement at the Fort Des Moines facility and was accepted. The parties agreed and he was sentenced on all matters on this date. The Court sentenced him to a fourteen year sentence (which included the probation matters of Burglary and Possession of Marijuana)  and suspended the sentence on the condition that he will remain in jail until there is space available at the Fort Des Moines Facility where he will be required to reside until he is successfully discharged. Two simple misdemeanors and a traffic offense were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

On January 30, 2019, Arthur English appeared in FECR318327 for sentencing. He previously pled guilty to Theft in the 2nd Degree as an habitual offender. The parties had agreed they would recommend probation; however, the Defendant committed a new offense of Theft 5th Degree pending disposition.  The State urged the Court to sentence the Defendant to incarceration, in light of the new offense, given his prior criminal history and failures to comply with supervision.  The Defendant urged the Court to grant probation in consideration of his medical condition and family support.  The Court expressed concerns of the Defendant’s ability or willingness to comply with the law and conditions of probation, but granted the Defendant’s request and sentenced him to 15 years in prison and suspended the sentence, placing him on probation with several conditions.

On January 30, 2019, Tyler Shipley appeared in FECR320339 and AGCR319969.  He entered a plea of guilty to Forgery and asked for immediate sentencing. He had previously pled guilty to Eluding and sought sentencing on that as well.  The Defendant is on parole out of Marshall County for a number of offenses and is facing a 15 year sentence. He has also been sentenced in Warren County and Jasper County on different but related matters.  The parties agreed all matters would run concurrent to each other except his parole matter, which is required under the law to be consecutive, absent a specific finding by the Court to the contrary.  As part of the plea agreement the parties did not ask the Court to depart from the standard.  The Defendant was sentenced to five (5) years on this offense consecutive to the prior 15 years for a total period of imprisonment not to exceed 20 years.

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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