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E-FILED 2014 NOV 07 11:29 AM HARRISON - CLERK OF DISTRICT COURT

IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR HARRISON COUNTY

THE STATE OF IOWA,


Plaintiff,

NO. FECR011586
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND
VERDICT

vs.
CODY METZKER-MADSEN,
Defendant.

This matter came before the court for trial to the court on October 28 through 31
and November 5 through 7, 2014. The state appeared by Assistant Attorney General
Denise Timmins and Harrison County Attorney Jennifer Mumm. Defendant Cody
Metzker-Madsen appeared with counsel Michael Williams.
On September 6, 2013, the state filed a trial information charging Cody MetzkerMadsen with murder in the first degree for the August 31, 2013, death of five-year-old
Dominic Elkins, in violation subsection 707.2(1)(e) of the 2013 Iowa Code. That
subsection states:
1. A person commits murder in the first degree when the person commits murder
under any of the following circumstances:
;
e. The person kills a child while;committing assault under section 708.1 upon
the child, and the death occurs under circumstances manifesting an extreme
indifference to human life.
Metzker-Madsen pleaded not guilty. On September 10, 2014, he filed his notice
of intent to rely on the defense of insanity. Metzker-Madsen filed a written waiver of jury
trial on September 15, 2014, and he confirmed that waiver during a colloquy on October
28, 2014.

E-FILED 2014 NOV 07 11:29 AM HARRISON - CLERK OF DISTRICT COURT

The court makes the following FINDINGS OF FACT:


On August 31, 2013, Cody Metzker-Madsen was a seventeen-year-old youth
living with his foster family in rural Harrison County, Iowa. He turned eighteen years old
on February 19, 2014. Metzker-Madsen had been in the Julie and Don Coolman foster
home for about three years, following a series of out-of-home placements that started
when he was six years old. The Coolmans were experienced foster parents. They also
had twin daughters who were then twelve years old. A foster child Dominic Elkins
joined the Coolman family about three weeks before August 31. Dominic was five years
old.
Despite the difference in their ages, Dominic and Cody Metzker-Madsen played
together. Cody enjoyed creating games based upon characters from mythology,
science fiction stories, television, and video games. On the Coolman property were a
large yard, a swimming pool, timber, miniature horses, dogs, a cat, and a steep ravine
to occupy the children. The boys also enjoyed video games.
In the late afternoon or early evening of August 31, Don Coolman and a friend
were away from home, riding motorcycles. Julie Coolman and one of the Coolman
daughters drove into town, about ten minutes away, to buy ice cream for the family.
The other twelve-year-old daughter, Rebecca, was inside the house watching television.
Cody Metzker-Madsen and Dominic were playing outdoors. Before Julie returned with
ice cream, Metzker-Madsen came into the house. He told Rebecca that he could not
find Dominic.
Cody appeared to Rebecca to be panicky and muddy. She went outside with
him and they started to look for Dominic in the yard. Rebecca also telephoned her
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mother, who was nearly home. Julie Coolman arrived at the residence within minutes.
Cody Metzker-Madsen ran up to Julie Coolman and told her that Dominic had run away,
into a ravine on the Coolman property. He led her to an area of the ravine that Julie
believed could not have been the place where Dominic disappeared, because the tall
grass and weeds were undisturbed. She urged Metzker-Madsen to help her find
Dominic. Cody then led the searchers to the opposite end of the property and a
different part of the ravine.
Dominic was found by his foster sister, face-down in the water at the bottom of
the ravine. She rolled him over and attempted to resuscitate him. Her efforts were
futile. An autopsy revealed that Dominic died from blunt force trauma or drowning.
Tests showed that Dominics blood was spattered on Metzker-Madsens shirt and
shorts. Larger blood stains on defendants clothing indicated he had been in contact
with Dominics body.
Cody Metzker-Madsen provided several versions of what happened to Dominic.
He said that Dominic fell from a tree limb or branch that broke and tumbled into the
ravine. He told the Coolmans and investigators that night that Dominic hit himself in the
head with a brick. He told investigators that Dominic, supposedly flat in the water, threw
a brick at him from the bottom of the ravine more than twenty feet to the top, where
Cody was looking down at the child.
Metzker-Madsen also told D.C.I. investigators that he and Dominic were playing
Greeks and Romans. He described the type of sabers the Greek player used,
compared to that used by the Roman. He told the investigators that he went through a
portal, or barrier when the game started. He said, I didnt know he would actually
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drown.
When the investigators let Cody know that they did not believe him, he then told
them about a cloaked man he had seen that night in the ravine and had seen on other
occasions. He told the investigators that the man deep in the ravine had different
colored eyes, an observation that he would have had to make in the dark from the top of
the ravine. He speculated that the cloaked man must have tripped Dominic and
drowned him, because he doesnt drown that easily. Hes a fighter. I know that.
He told the investigators that he was not the kind of guy who would kill a kid. The
agents left the interview room for a few minutes, leaving Metzker-Madsen alone. He
voiced his displeasure when he found an agents tape recorder and realized the
interview was being recorded.
In February 2014, about six months after Dominics death, Metzker-Madsen met
with clinical psychologist Alan Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein is board certified in forensic
psychology. He is licensed in Iowa, New York, and Connecticut. Dr. Goldstein
reviewed over 1500 pages of records related to Metzker-Madsens mental health
treatment, hospitalizations, evaluations, and placement facilities. He also reviewed the
recorded interview of Cody by state investigators, investigative materials, the trial
information and minutes of testimony. Over the course of two days, Dr. Goldstein
administered psychological tests to Metzker-Madsen and asked him to tell him about
Dominics death.
Dr. Goldstein described that keeping Cody on task was demanding and
exhausting, not surprising given the young mans history of attention problems. After
about five hours on that first day, Goldstein asked defendant what he believed was the
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evidence the state had against him. Cody was eventually able to describe the states
evidence. When asked what he thought his chances would be at trial, defendant said
that they were not very good. Dr. Goldstein told Cody he agreed that his chances were
not good, based upon the evidence. Metzker-Madsen then put his head down and cried
briefly. He then told Goldstein that he thought he had to tell him what happened. Dr.
Goldstein agreed that he would return the next day for Metzker-Madsen to tell him what
happened.
The doctor testified that the next day, Metzker-Madsen was initially not willing to
talk with him. After administering several psychological tests, the doctor told defendant
that there were no more tests to give, and that if he wanted to talk about what
happened, this was the time. Over the course of the next several hours, MetzkerMadsen told Dr. Goldstein that he had waged a battle with a goblin. He and the goblin
were at the top of the ravine. This goblin was dressed differently than others in the
area, marking him as the leader. Metzker-Madsen described in detail how the goblin
went down the ravine, and how the defendant used special weapons or gear he wore in
a pack around his waist to fight the creature. He bludgeoned and drowned the goblin to
make sure he was dead.
Metzker-Madsens trial testimony followed a course very similar to his description
of the events to Dr. Goldstein. He described playing Roman mythology outside with
Dominic. He then went into one of his worlds that resembled a video game. Once he
was in that world, he saw goblins fighting people he knew. The commander of the
goblins was in front of him near the edge of the ravine. Cody attacked the goblin
commander toward the edge of the ravine and kicked him into a tree branch. The
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goblins head hit the branch. Cody went down the ravine after the goblin. He reached
into a pack belted to his waist for his weaponsa sword and a brick. He attacked the
goblin and smashed the brick into his face. He pushed its head into the water as he hit
him. Even after it was still, Cody did not trust that the goblin was dead, because,
according to him, sometimes goblins reemerge and attack again. They are kind of
tricky little creatures. Metzker-Madsen testified that he did not realize at the time that
he was battling the goblin, that the creature was, in fact, Dominic.
In addition to the evaluation by Dr. Goldstein, Cody Metzker-Madsen also was
evaluated by psychiatrist James Dennert. Dr. Dennert is board-certified in psychiatry
and neurology, is licensed in Iowa, and has over thirty years of clinical experience in
treating people with mental illness. Dr. Dennert reviewed the Dr. Goldsteins report and
notes of his interview with the defendant, as well as the competency evaluations
completed after Metzker-Madsens arrest. He reviewed the investigative report and
recorded interview of Metzker-Madsen by D.C.I. agents. Because this interview took
place within hours of Dominics death, Dr. Dennert opined that it gave him good insight
into Codys state of mind at the time of the assault. In his experience, people who suffer
from acute psychosis, delusions or hallucinations do not instantly or quickly move from
that psychotic state to a non-psychotic state.
Dr. Dennert pointed to Metzker-Madsens lies to the Coolmans and to
investigators as compelling evidence that defendant knew on August 31 that what he
had done to Dominic was wrong. Cody told Dr. Dennert during the October 2014
evaluation that he lied in order to gain time to talk to an attorney. Dr. Dennert opined
that Metzker-Madsens description of killing the goblin, disclosed for the first time to Dr.
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Goldstein months after Dominics death, was another fabrication to deflect responsibility
from himself.
The court makes the following CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of murder
first degree:
1.
On or about August 31, 2013, the defendant beat and/or drowned
Dominic Elkins.
2.

Dominic Elkins died as a result of being beaten and/or drowned.

3.

Dominic Elkins was under the age of 14 years.

4.

The defendant acted with malice aforethought.

5.

The defendant was committing the crime of assault.

6.
Dominic Elkins death occurred under circumstances showing an
extreme indifference to human life.
In this case, there is no dispute that Cody Metzker-Madsen used a brick or rock
and repeatedly hit Dominic Elkins about the head, mouth, chest and abdomen. There is
no dispute that Metzker-Madsen held Dominic face-down in the water to be sure that
the child was dead. Five-year-old Dominic died as a result of Metzker-Madsens
assault. The repeated blows exposed the front and back of the childs skull, split his
upper lip, smashed his jaw, broke out some of his teeth, bruised his small body, and
resulted in blood spattering on Metzker-Madsens clothing. All of these circumstances
indicate an extreme indifference to human life.
The state has shown substantial evidence from which a trier of fact could
determine that Cody Metzker-Madsen acted with malice aforethought. Malice is a
state of mind which leads one to intentionally do a wrongful act to the injury of another
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out of actual hatred, or with an evil or unlawful purpose. Malice aforethought is a fixed
purpose or design to do some physical harm to another that exists before the act is
committed. State v Newell, 710 N.W.2d 6 at 21 (Iowa 2006). Malice aforethought may
be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence and from the acts and conduct of the
defendant. Malice aforethought need not last for any particular length of time.
In this case, there was no lawful purpose for the defendants repeated and brutal
injuries to Dominic. Metzker-Madsen saw the childs skull and blood, yet pushed
Dominics head under the water to be sure he was not breathing and would die. His
acts could be construed by a trier of fact to demonstrate his fixed purpose to do great
harm to Dominic.
The state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of murder
in the first degree, in violation subsection 707.2(1)(e) of the 2013 Iowa Code.
The court next considers the defense of insanity. A person is presumed to be
sane. In order for the defendant to establish he was insane, he must prove by a
preponderance of the evidence either of the following:
1.
At the time the crime was committed, the defendant suffered from such a
diseased or deranged condition of the mind as to render him incapable of
knowing the nature and quality of the acts he is accused of; or
2.
At the time the crime was committed, the defendant suffered from such a
diseased or deranged condition of the mind as to render him incapable of
distinguishing between right and wrong as to the acts he is accused of.

State v. Becker, 818 N.W.2d 135 (2012). If the defendant has failed to prove
either of the elements by a preponderance of the evidence, then the Defendant is guilty.

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In this case, the court heard testimony from two expert witnesses, both of whom
were qualified to give expert opinions regarding Cody Metzker-Madsens sanity at the
time of the offense. The court observed defendants testimony and his demeanor
throughout the trial. During this trial, the court heard extensive evidence about MetzkerMadsens history of staring episodes, epilepsy, oppositional behaviors, attention deficits,
lies, fantasy characters, and possible hallucinations. This is a young man who has
never been mentally normal. While those instances in the past have little direct bearing
on Cody Metzker-Madsens state of mind when he killed Dominic on August 31, 2013,
they do show some consistency. Cody is a poor liar. His attempts to deflect blame are
unsophisticated. His inner fantasy life is rich.
The court has carefully considered Dr. Dennerts opinion that at the time of this
incident, Cody did not suffer from any psychiatric illness or psychosis that prevented
him from knowing the nature and consequences of his actions, or prevented him from
distinguishing right from wrong. The court has also considered Dr. Dennerts opinion
that Dr. Goldsteins assessment of the defendant is flawed.
However, the court found Dr. Goldsteins evaluation of the defendant to be
persuasive. A preponderance of the evidence supports a conclusion that at the time he
was inflicting mortal wounds on Dominic, Cody Metzker-Madsen did not understand the
nature or consequences of his actions. He believed that he was slaying a goblin foe.
He was irrational, and according to Dr. Goldstein, in a psychotic state that prevented
him from understanding that it was not a goblin but a child, Dominic, whom he had
killed. During his interview with D.C.I. agents, during his evaluations by Dr. Goldstein
and Dr. Dennert, and during his testimony at trial, Cody Metzker-Madsen appeared to
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be unaffected by the gravity of his acts against Dominic. He was animated in describing
his battle against the goblin. He became testy when confronted with his lies and
inconsistencies. However, it is not clear that he appreciates, even now, the
consequences of his actions.
IT IS THE VERDICT OF THE COURT that defendant Cody Metzker-Madsen is
not guilty of murder in the first degree by reason of insanity.
IT IS ORDERED that Cody Metzker-Madsen is committed to the Iowa medical
and classification center at Oakdale for psychiatric evaluation, treatment, and custody.
The chief medical officer shall report to the court within 15 days of admission of the
defendant to the facility, stating the chief medical officers diagnosis and opinion as to
whether the defendant is mentally ill and dangerous to himself or to others.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Cody Metzker-Madsen shall remain in the
custody of the Harrison County sheriff until his placement at the facility. The Harrison
County sheriff, or sheriffs designee, shall transport Cody Metzker-Madsen to the facility.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a hearing shall be scheduled after the court
receives the report of the chief medical officer.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(4), that Cody
Metzker-Madsen shall not ship, possess, receive, transport, or cause the transport of
any firearms or ammunition.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any appearance bond is exonerated and costs
are assessed to the state.

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State of Iowa Courts


Type:

OTHER ORDER

Case Number
FECR011586

Case Title
STATE OF IOWA VS METZKER-MADSEN, CODY
So Ordered

Electronically signed on 2014-11-07 11:29:57

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