Stoebe will rule on murder suspect’s rights

King objects to the way investigators searched his apartment, questioned him

A District Court judge will make a decision as to whether or not an accused double-murder suspect’s rights were violated when investigators questioned him and searched his apartment.

Tanner J. King, 28, of Fort Dodge, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of brothers Marion and El Dominic Rhodes on Oct. 22, 2018, in Fort Dodge. He’s also charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Cletio Clark during the same incident.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On Thursday, a suppression hearing was held in Webster County District Court in front of Judge Kurt Stoebe, of the 2nd Judicial District.

King’s attorneys are arguing that investigators violated King’s civil rights during the execution of a search warrant and by refusing to listen to him when he asked to speak to an attorney.

One of King’s attorneys, Paul Rounds, of Nevada, questioned Fort Dodge Police Detective Larry Hedlund about the search of King’s apartment, located at 910 Second Ave. N., that happened on Oct. 24, 2018, two days after the double homicide.

The Rhodes brothers were found dead in the alleyway behind that building.

Rounds said the search warrant specifically mentioned records, receipts and paperwork, but during the search Hedlund directed Brandi Weinzetl, the department’s evidence technician, to take more than 100 photos of items that included King’s wallet and its contents and a holster.

Additionally, King can be heard on an audio recording made during the search objecting to items he deemed “irrelevant” to the case.

Hedlund acknowledged that a number of the items that were photographed weren’t specifically mentioned in the search warrant, but he said it’s a common practice in investigations to photograph any items that may be significant.

“The warrant is the authorization,” Hedlund said. “In that process, we don’t turn a blind eye to other things we see.”

Under questioning from Susan Krisko, an assistant Iowa attorney general, Hedlund said that if a photographed item is deemed significant, there are legal ways of getting it into evidence.

“If something is found later and more probable cause is found, you could ask for another search warrant,” Krisko said.

“Correct,” Hedlund replied.

In this case, two additional search warrants were executed at King’s apartment: another one in October 2018 and a third one in November 2018.

Rounds also told Hedlund that King was not given his Miranda rights until the afternoon of Oct. 24, 2018.

Hedlund said he was given his rights after he was arrested on a parole violation charge.

Detective Tom Steck, of the Fort Dodge Police Department, testified that investigators first encountered King on the morning of the double homicide. Steck said he and Hedlund had gone inside King’s apartment building to see if anyone heard or saw anything about the double homicide. According to Steck, he and Hedlund talked to King for about 10 or 15 minutes before letting him go to his apartment.

Officers visited King again twice on Oct. 24, once during the search warrant execution and once a few hours before they interviewed King a second time.

Under questioning for Krisko, Steck said that King was not given his rights during the brief conversation investigators had with him on Oct. 22, nor was he given his rights during either encounter on Oct. 24.

“Why not?” Krisko asked.

“He wasn’t in custody,” Steck said.

He added that King was free to move about the apartment, but Rounds pointed out that investigators told King he could only sit or stand in certain places.

Steck clarified that was because of all the investigative activity going on during the search and said there were only a few places for King to sit down.

Rounds also called Weinzetl to the stand to ask her about the photographs that were taken, as well as Fort Dodge Police Detective Keaton Lunn, who examined two phones that were found in King’s apartment.

Stoebe will issue a ruling in the case after considering all the testimony and evidence.

According to previous criminal complaints, Clark had confronted King early on the morning of Oct. 22, 2018, in the alley behind 910 Second Ave. N. The complaint states that King allegedly sold Clark’s girlfriend “bad” drugs.

“Clark states that during this argument Marion Rhodes walks by, exchanges words with Clark and then makes a telephone call,” according to the complaint. “Clark then states that following the telephone call by Marion, El Dominic pulls up in a vehicle and gets out.”

El Dominic Rhodes approached Clark and King as they were arguing, according to the complaint.

“At that time King pulls out a handgun and shoots El Dominic,” the complaint states. “King then turns the gun on Marion and shoots him.”

King then allegedly aimed towards Clark and fired a shot. Clark wasn’t hit, but his girlfriend’s car, which he was driving, was.

Clark drove off and King ran away, according to the complaint.

Stoebe also issued a ruling Thursday pushing the trial date back.

The motion was filed by Rounds, who said because of how busy King’s defense team has been, there’s no way they’ll be ready in time for the May 6 trial date.

Krisko said the state did not object to postponing the trial.

Stoebe approved and said a new trial date will be determined at a trial-scheduling conference.

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