A former Dubuque man’s burglary conviction for attempting to break into a local restaurant in 2017 has been upheld by the Iowa Appeals Court.
Christopher A. Puccio, 26, an inmate of the Iowa Department of Corrections, had asked the court to overturn his misdemeanor conviction of third-degree burglary. However, the judges last week affirmed the jurors’ decision.
Puccio was one of two men who broke a window at Pizza Ranch, 2020 Radford Road, just before 1 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2017. The two allegedly broke the window because they wanted to rob the business, but fled the scene without entering.
Puccio was found shortly after the incident and was arrested. He was convicted of the burglary charge in August 2018.
He appealed, citing inadequate legal counsel, according to court documents. He claimed his attorney did not ask the presiding judge to inform jurors that he could instead be convicted on a lesser- included charge or that witnesses had made inconsistent statements, nor did the attorney ask the judge to instruct jurors about how to evaluate eyewitness testimony.
The court dismissed the first two claims, but said the third issue could be maintained as grounds for future post-conviction relief efforts.
Just weeks before his burglary conviction, Puccio was arrested on an unrelated charge of attempted murder for stabbing a man in the chest, puncturing the man’s lung. Puccio ultimately pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of willful injury and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Puccio’s two-year prison sentence on the burglary conviction is running concurrent to his 10-year sentence for the willful injury conviction.