The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 16, 2013

Jury finds man guilty of pawn shop burglary

CLINTON — A Clinton County jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes before finding a man guilty of robbery in the first degree on Tuesday.

A sob broke free from the defendant, Darrell Thomas, 27, when the verdict was read and the jury was polled. As a forcible felony, the conviction carries with it a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years. Thomas will not be eligible for parole until he has served 70 percent of the sentence, approximately 17.5 years. His sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 21.

Defense attorney Bruce Ingham did not dispute that his client was guilty of the robbery of Library Pawn Shop, 901 N. Second St., on Oct. 18. In his closing statement, Ingham stated that County Attorney Mike Wolf “absolutely” proved that Thomas committed the robbery and assaulted and threatened owner Shirley Reed. However, Ingham argued that the crime did not constitute robbery in the first degree.

Judge Mark Cleve instructed the jury that for Thomas to be found guilty of robbery in the first degree, the state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he entered the pawn shop on Oct. 18 with the intent to commit a theft; that to carry out the theft he either committed an assault on Reed or threatened her and put her in fear; that he was armed with a dangerous weapon.

Wolf and Ingham agreed that the first two requirements had been met.

Throughout the day, Wolf called law enforcement officers from both Davenport and Clinton to discuss how Thomas was charged with the robbery. Elizabeth Griffin, a desk clerk from the Travel Lodge in Davenport, told the court about checking Thomas into room 221. When she recognized him from a media release in the Quad-City Times she called Crimestoppers and later told police that he said he was going to Easy Pawn to sell some rings.

Davenport Police Officer Doug Adams testified that he responded to Easy Pawn and observed Thomas matching the surveillance video photo from the Library Pawn Shop robbery. Adams told the court that he and his partner found a knife on Thomas’ right hip. Both Davenport Detective Mark Dinneweth and Clinton Cpl. Brian Pohl testified finding items from the robbery in room 221 at the Travel Lodge.

Wolf played a portion of a police video where Thomas was questioned by Pohl and Detective Michael Adney. In the tape, Thomas could be heard admitting to the robbery. Jurors watched as Thomas filled out his statement on the tape, which Wolf then placed up on a video screen for them to read.

Wolf said the state also showed that Thomas assaulted Shirley Reed. Reed on Monday told the court how Thomas threatened her with a knife and pushed her to the floor. On Tuesday, Reed continued her testimony and explained how this event has affected her. Already suffering from arthritis, Reed told the court that being pushed around further damaged her knee and legs. She added that the robbery also affected her emotionally.

“I’ve never been so frightened in my whole life,” Reed said.

Reed said that she will never forget the attack and has nightmares about it. She added that she is now afraid of everyone who walks through the door at her shop, unless she knows them.

Ingham argued that the knife used in the robbery did not constitute a dangerous weapon. He told the jury that under the law, a dangerous weapon must be an instrument or device that is primarily designed to inflict serious harm or kill a person or animal. He offered the examples of a gun or a pistol. Ingham held up a pencil and compared it to the knife, saying neither were designed primarily to kill.

The other way an item can be classified as a dangerous weapon is if it is used with the intent to do serious harm or kill. Ingham said if a person jammed the pencil in another person’s eye, it would become a dangerous weapon. However, he maintained that Thomas used the knife to scare Reed, but did not use it with the intent to kill or seriously harm her.

“If he had intended to hurt or kill her, she would have been hurt or killed,” Ingham said. “If he wanted her hurt; if he wanted her dead; one of those two things would have happened.”

Ingham asked that the jury find Thomas guilty of robbery in the second degree instead.

Wolf rebutted Ingham’s argument, emphasizing the wording “as to indicate” that the defendant intended to hurt or kill Reed. He pointed out that Thomas brought a cord into the shop with the intent to bind Reed.

“Did he use it? Yes, he did,” Wolf said.

Wolf reminded the jury of Thomas’ testimony to Adney on the tape, where he said he left and promised he would not do anything, if she did not scream. Wolf again reminded the court of Reed’s testimony that Thomas told her over and over that he was going to kill her.

“He held this knife as he was telling these things,” Wolf said.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Inmate charged in Rockford lawyer's 2008 death

    Murder charges were announced Wednesday against the one-time client of a Rockford attorney who was fatally shot while clearing snow from his driveway in 2008.

    Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato said a grand jury has indicted Richard E. Wanke Jr., 53, on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Gregory H. Clark, 60. Wanke was arrested Wednesday at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, where he has been serving a 14-year sentence on burglary charges with a projected parole date of May 7.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite ruling, Iowa to bar all felons from voting

    Elections officials will continue to bar felons from voting despite an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that suggests not all of them have lost their voting rights.

    Three justices ruled Tuesday that only some felonies are considered "infamous crimes" under the Iowa Constitution that bar individuals from voting or holding office.

    April 16, 2014

  • Branstad's tax return shows income of $234,907

    Gov. Terry Branstad released his tax returns Wednesday, showing he earned $234,907 and paid $28,298 in federal taxes in 2013.

    The governor and his wife paid $32,085 in federal taxes but are getting a refund of $3,787. Their state tax return shows they paid in $10,285 in taxes but will get a refund of $4,158. In addition the governor and first lady each received $54 back from the Legislature as all Iowa taxpayers did making their total Iowa tax bill $6,235.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on 'The View'

    Jenny McCarthy had big news to share Wednesday on "The View": She's engaged to Donnie Wahlberg.

    McCarthy raised her hidden left hand from behind the desk, revealing an engagement ring.

    April 16, 2014

  • Iran cuts nuke weapons ability

    The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran's ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade uranium, diplomats said Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • 283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

    April 16, 2014

  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

    NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.

    Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO's air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine, far from the tensions in the eastern part of the country. He said allied warships will also deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere if needed.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: Utah woman gave birth at home

    A Utah woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns gave birth each time in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Investigators have determined that Megan Huntsman, 39, did not go to a hospital to have the babies, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts said. He didn't say if anybody helped her give birth.

    April 16, 2014

  • Illinois trooper charged for roadside strip search

    A southwestern Illinois state trooper is facing a felony aggravated battery charge after authorities say he strip-searched a man along the side of a road during a traffic stop.

    The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports 32-year-old Cory Alberson was released on $20,000 bail on Monday after he pleaded not guilty.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video