116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Linn County jury convicted a Cedar Rapids man this week for beating and robbing an older Coggon couple and forcing his way into their home by impersonating a police officer.
Brandon William Lee, 33, was found guilty Tuesday following a weeklong trial of two counts each of first-degree robbery and willful injury, and one count each of first-degree theft and impersonating a public official. He faces up to 77 years in prison.
Lee came to the Coggon home of Joseph Henderson, 73, and Sandra Henderson, 72, about 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9, and identified himself as a police officer and displayed a badge, according to testimony.
Once inside the home, Lee repeatedly assaulted the couple, while demanding they take him to their safe.
According to court documents, Lee “brutally” beat Joseph Henderson as he “drug him to the safe, and there was blood all over the residence.”
Lee was armed with a gun and threatened to kill them during the robbery, according to testimony. Lee stole more than $50,000 from the safe.
Evidence introduced at trial showed that Lee knew the couple’s son.
The Hendersons both had serious injuries. Joseph had facial fractures, and Sandra had a deep laceration to her head, according to testimony.
Joseph Henderson died a few months after the assault, which wasn’t the cause of his death, according to a medical examiner. He had been diagnosed with cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte said this week she hoped the verdict gives Sandra Henderson some peace.
“Lee’s actions were horrific, and he deserves a lengthy prison sentence,” Schulte said.
She also commended the investigators with Linn County Sheriff’s Office for a “top-notch” investigation, which included DNA, surveillance footage, digital forensic evidence and hours of interviews.
Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks also thanked the jury for their service.
“From the day this tragedy occurred,” he said, “the dedication and collaboration of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office with the Linn County Attorney’s Office demonstrates the commitment by both agencies to keep the residents of Linn County safe from violent crime and to work on behalf of victims for justice.”
Lee testified last year in a federal trial for Matthew Robbins, 48, who was convicted of robbing and fatally shooting James Booher, 51, of Marion, in 2014.
Lee has previous convictions for drugs and theft in Linn County, theft in Johnson County and eluding in Delaware County.
His sentencing is set for Sept. 23 in Linn County District Court.
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