State of Iowa v. Isack Mahad Abdinur

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 17-0247 Filed June 6, 2018 STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ISACK MAHAD ABDINUR, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge. Defendant challenges his conviction for murder in the first degree. AFFIRMED. Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. Heard by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ. 2 MCDONALD, Judge. Isack “Zack” Abdinur challenges his conviction for murder in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.2(1)(a) (2015). In this direct appeal, Abdinur contends the district court erred in finding he did not prove his insanity defense and the district court abused its discretion in granting a continuance over his objection. I. The victim in this case is Cori Stead, Abdinur’s girlfriend. Abdinur and Stead had a volatile relationship. According to numerous witnesses, they argued almost daily. Many witnesses recounted Abdinur making threats of violence and using hateful language. By way of example, Abdinur told Stead, “You should just die. I wish you would die. I hate you.” He accused her of cheating. He called her “a b*tch, a whore,” and “a slut.” Abdinur, an immigrant, told Stead, “Women in my country, when they don’t listen to their men, we chop their heads off.” He told her “he was going to make her pay for it if she didn’t listen to him.” On one occasion, he told Stead’s family “if he had a beer bottle, . . . he would break it over her head,” and “how these whores act, how they act, how women like that behave in Africa, we kill them.” On the night in question, June 22, 2015, Abdinur went out to a local casino with Stead and Stead’s niece, Leslie Cournoyer. Abdinur and Stead were living with Cournoyer and Cournoyer’s five children. According to Cournoyer, Abdinur had been drinking with friends when she and Stead picked him up to go to the casino. When he got in her car, he “looked mean.” Abdinur and Stead began arguing in the car, as they often did, and Abdinur told Stead “he wished she would 3 die.” Cournoyer testified she witnessed Abdinur punch the back of Stead’s head out of the corner of her eye. The group spent a short time at the casino. They left around 9:00 p.m. and returned to Cournoyer’s apartment. Shalena Dupree, a friend of Cournoyer’s, was babysitting the children. Dupree testified that when Abdinur, Stead, and Cournoyer returned home from the casino Cournoyer prepared dinner. Shortly thereafter, Cournoyer, Dupree, and the five children went into Cournoyer’s bedroom to watch a movie. Both Cournoyer and Dupree heard Stead and Abdinur arguing outside the bedroom. Stead asked Cournoyer to call 911. They did not call 911 because the phone was not working. Stead then entered the bedroom, locked the door behind her, and laid on a ...

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