The Ottumwa Courier

April 30, 2013

Court rejects Wapello County man's robbery appeal


Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a Wapello County man’s bid for appeal.

Paulino Perez-Mondragon was convicted in 2008 of robbery and assault while participating in a felony. He had been charged with robbing Corazon Latino, 412 E. Main St., Ottumwa, and threatening to kill the clerk at the store.

The robbery took place Feb. 28, 2008, and it was snowing at the time. Officers followed footprints in the snow to the 600 block of East Main Street, where Perez-Mondragon and Leonardo Rufin-Fones shared an apartment with another roommate.

When questioned, Perez-Mondragon admitted to robbing the store with Rufin-Fones. He challenged the statements when his case came to court, claiming he did not understand his rights and that they were made involuntarily. The district court rejected the arguments. He was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and five years for assault, to be served concurrently.

The Iowa Court of Appeals also rejected his claim the confession should be thrown out, concluding there was overwhelming evidence of his guilt.

When Perez-Mondragon petitioned the Iowa Court of Appeals, he also contended his sentence was “grossly disproportionate” to the charges. The court rejected that argument, affirming both the conviction and sentence.