Orange City, Iowa — After a three-day jury trial, a Sioux County jury has found an Orange City teen guilty of First Degree Robbery and Burglary after they say he broke into a house and assaulted a victim while robbing him.
Sioux County Attorney Coleman McAllister says 16-year-old Leandro Valdez of Orange City was found guilty on Thursday (12/6), by a Sioux County jury of the crimes of Robbery and Burglary, both in the First Degree, both Class B Felonies. Because of the nature of the charges, under Iowa law, Valdez was charged in adult court.
Valdez was accused and convicted by the jury of participating in an armed robbery and burglary at a residence in Orange Ci ty, Iowa, on August 30, 2012. At the trial, the victim testified that he awoke to find five intruders in his bedroom at approximately 11:30 p.m. that evening. The intruders were dressed in black and wearing ski masks. One of the intruders was armed with a handgun and three others were armed with knives. The victim testified that the intruders demanded money from him, threatened to kill him, and held him at gunpoint as they ransacked his home searching for valuables. The resident testified that he was able to flee the home by pushing past one the attackers, when his attention was diverted, and tumbled down a flight of stairs. The intruders pursued him, beating and kicking him, but he was able to get to a neighbor’s home where the neighbor called 911. At trial, the victim testified that he was able to identify only one of the attackers, Valdez, whose face he was able to observe when Valdez’s ski mask fell off during the robbery. Valdez was taken into custody a few hours after the incident. To date, no one else has been formally charged in the incident.
Sentencing is set for January 28. Valdez faces a mandatory prison term of 25 years on each count. The Court must determine whether these sentences will be served concurrently or consecutively. On the robbery charge, Valdez must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 17.5 years before he is eligible for parole.