Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 4, 2014

Todd rejects plea offer

Already facing 19 counts, 80 more could be filed

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — In Marion County District Court Friday morning, Dustin Blake Todd, 28, rejected what was referred to as the State's one and only plea bargain offer to settle 19 criminal charges against him. 

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull told Judge John Lloyd that the State of Iowa would not offer another bargain in Todd's case. The agreement would have included Todd pleading guilty to first-degree robbery and ongoing criminal conduct. If Todd had chosen to accept the deal, the State would have sought a prison sentence of up to 25 years and that Todd provide restitution to all victims included in the 19 charges he is already facing, but to additional victims for crimes Todd is suspected to have committed, but has not been charged. Bull added that the State believes that there are 80 more criminal charges it could file against Todd. 

Todd is accused of several burglary, theft and criminal mischief charges for alleged actions in late 2013 and early 2014 throughout Marion County. These incidents have been investigated by the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Knoxville Police Department. 

As Bull's statements came to a close, he said that the State has already expended many resources on this case, and it is prepared to spend even more if the case goes to trial. Todd's initial trial, for these 19 counts, is expected to take up to six weeks. 

Bull added that if Todd is convicted on these charges, "He will not immediately go to prison." The State would move forward with the additional charges to try to make other victims whole. 

Lloyd asked Bull to clarify that if Todd had accepted the offer, Todd would not face further charges and he would have immunity if he admits to any other criminal asked. Bull confirmed this. 

"I would not like to accept the offer," Todd told Lloyd. His attorney, Jason Dunn, asked him if he understood the potential ramifications of his rejection. "Yes, I understand," Todd said. 

Lloyd also worked to confirm that Todd understood that if he pled guilty, he might serve only 17 years. If the case goes to trial, and he is found guilty, the sentencing judge could choose to send him to prison for a much longer time. Todd repeated that he rejected the offer and wants the case to proceed to trial. 

The trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept. 9. Given the time commitment the trial would require, according to Bull, Lloyd suggested asking Court Services to assign a judge to this case and see it through its entirety.