Marshalltown man convicted of robbery
The Marshalltown man accused of robbing a local Git-N-Go earlier this year has been found guilty on all charges.
Dillyn Michael Howard, 21, was convicted of first-degree robbery, assault while using or displaying a dangerous weapon and third-degree theft after a jury trial which began on Tuesday.
The verdict was read aloud in open court in a temporary courtroom at the Orpheum Theater on Thursday.
Amid closing arguments on Thursday, surveillance footage from inside the Git-N-Go was replayed for the jury. The video shows Howard enter behind the cashier island in the store while pointing a baton at the employee. The cashier backs away with their hands up while Howard takes money from a safe under the counter and cigarettes from above the counter, placing the items in a backpack and then leaving the store while still pointing the baton.
Closing arguments in the case took a focus on the first-degree robbery charge, with the defense working to get the charge brought down to second-degree robbery.
First-degree robbery is the more serious offense, and is when someone causes or attempts to cause serious injury, or has a deadly weapon at the time of the crime. Second-degree robbery is any robbery including violence, but without a dangerous weapon.
The state’s argument reiterated testimonies and evidence displayed throughout the trial thus far. First Assistant Marshall County Attorney Sarah Tupper who represented the state in the trial said she anticipated the defense would dispute whether the baton qualifies as a dangerous weapon or was intended to be used as a deadly weapon.
The cashier present in the store testified Howard said to her amid the robbery, “Your life is worth more than the money in the safe.” Tupper repeated the line throughout her closing argument.
“He brought that baton with him for one reason, to scare the store clerk into compliance,” Tupper said. “He told her what he would do if she did not comply. ‘Your life is worth more than the money in the safe.'”
Marshalltown Police Department Officer Ryan Dehl testified to the danger of the weapon. He said a baton like the one used in the crime is capable of inflicting death.
The defenses’ argument didn’t dispute Howard being the Git-N-Go robber, but centered around the charge of first-degree robbery.
“I think the whodunnit is obvious,” lawyer Ted Fisher, who represented Howard said.
Fisher argued because a baton is not designed to be a lethal weapon when used as intended, that it did not fit the legal definition of a dangerous weapon. He also argued the baton did not fit the legal definition of a dangerous weapon because of how it was used, arguing nobody has ever been pointed to death.
Tupper disagreed with Fisher’s characterization of the situation in the state’s rebuttal.
“The fact that he didn’t actually beat her to death with it doesn’t mean that wasn’t his intent,” Tupper said. “His intent was to scare her into opening that safe. His intent was, ‘If you don’t open the safe, you are going to die.'”
Howard’s sentencing is set for Nov. 12 of this year.
Contact Trevor Babcock
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