may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Robert Eugene Schaefer,
Lyon County District Court
File No. K099220
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Rick Maes, Lyon County Attorney, Lyon County Courthouse, 311 North Main Street, Marshall, MN 56258 (for respondent)
John Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding, Schumacher, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
In this appeal from his convictions of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, fifth-degree assault, and terroristic threats, appellant Robert Eugene Schaefer argues that the evidence was not sufficient to support the convictions. We affirm.
On January 29, 1999, Lindsay Morgan, Alesia Nybo, Katrina Glasser, and Shawn Wahl were visiting the home of David Rednour and Amanda Gilbertson in Marshall, Minnesota. At about 11:30 p.m., two men broke into the house, accused Rednour of stealing 200 pounds of marijuana from them, and threatened to kill Rednour if he did not return the marijuana. The two men smashed items in the house, punched holes in the walls, pulled the phone out of the wall, beat Rednour with a table leg, assaulted Wahl, and terrorized the others. They also threatened to kill Rednour if he reported the incident to the police.
Rednour went to the police after the two men left. He told the police what had happened at his house, but he did not identify the men. Glasser also went to the police later that evening. She identified appellant as one of the men at the house.
After being picked up by police, appellant denied that he was at the house, and he was allowed to leave. The next day, while police officers were at Rednour’s house taking photographs, Rednour and Gilbertson identified the two intruders as appellant and Eddie Zvorak.
Appellant was charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, terroristic threats, interference with a 911 call, and fifth-degree assault.
Appellant and his brother both testified that they were together at their parents’ home at the time of the incident. Both stated that the date was significant because their mother was to have her leg amputated the next day. The state offered evidence that the amputation occurred on April 6, 1999, more than two months after the offenses.
Lori Carlson and John Carlson testified that one week after the incident, appellant told them about the break-in. Lori Carlson testified that appellant said “that he was trying to straighten the kids out and * * * wanted to scare them and teach them a lesson.”
In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict that they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). We must assume that the jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any contrary evidence. State v. McKenzie, 511 N.W.2d 14, 17 (Minn. 1994). We will not disturb a verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude that the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).
Appellant argues that the six witnesses who identified him as one of the men who broke into the home are not credible because their written statements and their testimony were virtually identical, which, appellant contends, was too pat. Appellant also argues that their testimony is not credible because they testified that the intruder did not appear to be physically disabled in any way, and his ankles were swollen to the point that he had difficulty walking and needed a wheelchair.
“Deciding the credibility of witnesses is generally the exclusive province of the jury.” State v. Doppler, 590 N.W.2d 627, 635 (Minn. 1999) (citations omitted). It is apparent that the jury found the state’s witnesses credible. We also note that there is testimony in the record that indicates that appellant does not always use his wheelchair. When officers went to appellant’s house on the day of the incident to take him to the police station for questioning, appellant did not take his wheelchair with him to the station. Also, an officer testified that when he went to appellant’s home to investigate the break-in, appellant was not there, and there was an empty wheelchair in the entryway of the house.
Appellant argues that Lori Carlson and John Carlson were untruthful when they testified that he had admitted to them that he committed the offense. He argues that because Lori Carlson is Shawn Wahl’s mother and John Carlson is Lindsay Morgan’s uncle, neither would want Wahl or Morgan to get into trouble for making a false police report. Therefore, appellant contends, the fact that neither of the Carlsons ever reported to the police that he had confessed to them suggests that no confession was ever made. But during cross-examination, defense counsel pointed out this potential for bias, and the jury was able to assess the Carlsons’ credibility.
Because witnesses testified that appellant broke into the house, beat and threatened to kill Rednour, assaulted Wahl, and damaged property in the house, and it was within the province of the jury to find this testimony credible, the evidence is sufficient to support appellant’s convictions. See Minn. Stat. §§ 609.582, subd. 1(a) (first-degree burglary), .222, subd. 1 (second-degree assault), .713, subd. 1 (terroristic threats), .224, subd. 1(2) (1998) (fifth-degree assault).