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Gifford motions for new trial

Stoney Gifford

A Des Moines man convicted of robbing and shooting a man on Fort Dodge’s west side in 2020 is asking for a new trial, arguing that the evidence and testimony provided at trial was insufficient to support a guilty verdict.

Stoney Rock Gifford, 33, was convicted in January by a Webster County jury of a bevy of felony offenses related to the robbery, including:

• First-degree robbery, a Class B felony

• Intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony

• Going armed with intent, a Class D felony

• Control of a firearm by a felon, a Class D felony

Gifford is contesting his conviction partially on the grounds that testimony from victim Wallace Brady and witness Breanna Leners contradicted each other’s.

“The testimony in the case was so lacking in credibility that the testimony cannot support a guilty verdict,” Gifford’s motion reads.

At another point in the motion, Gifford’s defense attorney, Judd Parker, writes, “The credibility of either witness was so minimal standing alone, that consideration of their testimonies together renders them incomprehensible.”

Parker also argues that no physical evidence implicated the defendant in the crime and errors were made by the court in allowing DNA evidence and text messages into evidence.

The motion also introduces newly-discovered evidence — information from James Curtis Davis, another defendant being held in the Hardin County Jail at the same time as Gifford. According to a statement from Davis, when Davis was being held in the Humboldt County Jail, he had phone and text message conversations with Leners about the robbery and shooting that are inconsistent with her trial testimony.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2020, Gifford approached Brady, who was sitting in the front seat of his car with the door open in the 100 block of Avenue M West. According to witness testimony, Gifford walked up from behind the vehicle, placed himself between the door and the car, held a gun to Brady’s head and said some variation of “What are you doing here?” and “Give me all of your stuff.”

When Brady refused to hand over the cash and drugs he admitted to having on him that night, Gifford angled the gun down toward Brady’s feet and fired one shot, hitting Brady on the left side of his knee. Brady was transported to UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and was released a few hours later.

A sentencing hearing for Gifford had been scheduled for Monday. Gifford is facing up to 35 years in prison if his conviction stands.

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