ADEL, Iowa – The trials for two men who are accused of breaking into the Dallas County courthouse, while working for a security contractor hired to test the strength of the statewide court system, have been scheduled for April of 2020.
Justin Wynn and Gary Demercurio had been scheduled to appear for an initial hearing Wednesday morning in Dallas County but the hearing was canceled just prior. The magistrate in the case did set the case for trial on April 20, 2020. Both men have already pleaded not guilty.
Wynn and Demercurio were arrested Sept. 11th after being found wandering around inside the Dallas County Courthouse close to midnight. The two men had triggered an alarm while testing the security of the building. They were contracted through a security firm called Coalfire, which hired them as "penetration testers" for the Iowa Judicial Branch.
According to their contract, Wynn’s and Demercurio’s job was to test the "adequacy and effectiveness" of security in place at various buildings in Iowa including the Polk County Courthouse, Dallas County Courthouse, and the state Judicial Branch Building.
The Iowa Court Administration issued an apology in September saying it "apologizes to the sheriffs and boards of supervisors of Dallas County and Polk County for the confusion and impact these incidents have caused."
At a Senate Government Oversight Committee hearing in October, Chief Justice Mark Cady apologized for the situation. Cady asked lawmakers and Iowans to judge the court system not for its role in approving the courthouse burglaries but instead for the steps he will take to correct the problem.
Wynn and Demercurio had originally been charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglars’ tools but the burglary charge was later downgraded to trespassing.
Coalfire’s CEO, Tom McAndrew, called out Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard in a statement posted to the company’s website on Oct. 29th.
“Sheriff Leonard failed to exercise common sense and good judgement and turned this engagement into a political battle between the State and the County. I was stunned that the next morning the issues were not resolved and were actually amplified when bail was set as $100,000. My priority has always been for the safety of our employees, and we immediately engaged legal support and posted a $100,000 bond to get our team out of jail and get them home. I spoke with the team immediately after their release and promised to do everything I could to get this resolved. I intend to keep my promise.”