Gifford found guilty | News, Sports, Jobs
A Des Moines man accused of robbing and shooting a man on the West Side of Fort Dodge in 2020 was found guilty by a Webster County jury on Monday afternoon.
Stoney Rock Gifford, 33, was convicted of a series of criminal offenses related to theft, including:
• First degree theft, a class B felony
• Intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a class C felony
• Go armed with intent, a Class D felony
• Control of a firearm by a criminal, a Class D felony
“It was a difficult case” First Assistant Webster County District Attorney Ryan Baldridge admitted to the jury in closing arguments.
During the trial, the jury heard from a range of witnesses, as well as the victim, who admitted to using drugs and alcohol at the time of the offence.
In the early morning hours of August 22, 2020, Gifford approached the victim, Wallace “Wally” Brady, who was sitting in the front seat of his car with the door open in the 100 block of M Avenue West. Reportedly, Gifford approached from behind the vehicle, stood between the door and the car, pointed a gun at Brady’s head and said a variation of “What are you doing here?” and “Give me all your stuff.”
When Brady refused to hand over the cash and drugs he admitted to having with him that night, Gifford angled the gun at Brady’s feet and fired one round, hitting Brady on the left side of his knee. left.
Brady was transported to UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and released hours later.
Throughout the first two days of the trial, last Wednesday and Thursday, the jury heard from Brady and Breanna Leners, a woman who admitted to using Brady for drugs and walking around before the shooting. The two admitted to smoking methamphetamine and drinking vodka on the night of August 21, 2020, in the early morning hours of August 22, when the shooting happened shortly before 3 a.m.
Despite being state witnesses, Brady and Leners’ testimonies did not completely match.
Leners testified that she was sitting on the steps of one of the townhouses in Westridge when she saw the accused come from behind Brady’s car and commit the offence. Brady testified that Leners was inside the apartment when the robbery and shooting occurred.
The two also had different descriptions of the accused.
Baldridge told the jury that it was understandable that there were inconsistencies in eyewitness testimony – such as one witness testifying that the shooter was wearing a white shirt and another witnessing that he was wearing a red shirt – because “A traumatic experience can affect memory.”
Leners was also charged with first-degree robbery in connection with the case, as during the investigation law enforcement found a series of Facebook posts between her and the defendant, some of which involved police life insurance, according to Leners, Brady would have told him about.
Leners testified that she had only known Gifford for a few weeks and that she exchanged “naughty” messages with him, but had nothing to do with the theft.
Brady testified that he first met Gifford earlier that evening, inside the apartment the group was partying in.
Throughout the trial, defense attorney Judd Parker pointed out that Leners’ ex-boyfriend Dylan Reiter had just been released from prison and also lived in the Westridge Townhomes area. Reiter previously pleaded guilty to shooting Brady on another occasion, about a month before the August 2020 incident.
In his closing arguments, Baldrige pointed to talks Gifford had with Fort Dodge Police Department Detective Larry Hedlund about his alibi for the crime — that he had been in Des Moines with a “house boy”, and that he would give Hedlund more information, but did not follow up.
Baldridge also noted that the Facebook Messenger conversation between Gifford and Leners at the time of the robbery indicated they were in the same location.
Parker disagreed in his closing arguments, saying the posts were not proof the two were together and noted that they ended an hour before the shooting.
Parker reiterated that Leners’ and Brady’s testimonies did not agree and posited that Leners was testifying in order to get a better deal with his robbery charge.
The answer is quite simple, Parker said.
“Either they lie or they are wrong” he said. “You can’t believe both versions together.”
It took just an hour and a half for the jury to reach a verdict.
A month before the robbery, Gifford had been released from jail after being convicted of second-degree robbery and threatening terrorism outside of Kossuth County.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 14 at the Webster County Courthouse. Gifford faces up to 35 years in prison.