WATERLOO – Gloves found with a Waterloo man accused of robbing four stores and assaulting some of the clerks in 2018 didn’t contain DNA from the victims, jurors heard Monday as testimony in his trial wrapped up.
Jamar Ronod Wise, 26, is charged with first- and second-degree robbery, first-degree sexual abuse, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, assault while participating in a felony and ongoing criminal conduct.
Prosecutors allege Wise cased convenience stores in early 2018, striking shops staffed by lone female workers in the morning hours. He is charged with holdups at Metro Mart on Falls Avenue and Neighborhood Mart on Lafayette Street in January 2018 and B&B East on Bishop Avenue and Prime Mart on Broadway Street in February 2018.
The state alleges he grabbed one worker around the neck during one robbery, sexually assaulted another worker with a gloved hand and knocked her unconscious during another, and pulled down a third victim’s pants during yet another holdup.
He was arrested March 20 after entering the YesWay on San Marnan Drive wearing a mask after weeks of GPS surveillance.
Following almost two weeks of testimony from the state, the defense began presenting evidence Monday. Defense attorneys called a human resources manager from Tyson Fresh Meats, who testified Wise had worked at the plant since July 31, 2017, and had an annual salary of $21,000.
The defense also introduced an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation report of DNA testing on a pair of Mechanix gloves and a pair of yellow cotton gloves police seized from Wise following his arrest. The report stated analysts weren’t able to locate DNA profiles from any of the women.
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On rebuttal, the state called Paul Bush, the DCI’s DNA lab supervisor, who noted one of the gloves had a DNA mixture of three people. Wise was a major contributor to the mix, but the other two profiles were too small to make a match, Bush said. He said analysts weren’t able to eliminate anyone from the mixture.
He also said DNA can degrade and disappear over time depending on the conditions.
Wise didn’t take the stand in his own defense, but during an interview with Waterloo police investigators, he denied any involvement in the robberies.
When questioned about why he showed up at the YesWay wearing a mask after parking about a block away and leaving his car running, Wise said he used the mask for work and often wore it inside other stores. He said he didn’t use the store’s parking lot because people were after him.
Also on Monday, prosecutors reviewed Wise’s cell phone records showing he wasn’t using his phone at the time of the robberies. In each case, his phone had seen regular use with texts and web searches leading up to the robberies and after the robberies, said Investigator Jeremy Pohl with the Waterloo Police Department. He said Wise’s phone had downloaded a police scanner app on Feb. 8, 2018, just days before the B&B East robbery
Jurors were given today off while attorneys work with the judge to craft jury instructions. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday.