This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Shawn Eric Haugen,
Filed February 14, 2006
Martin County District Court
File No. K7-03-210
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Thomas Rolf Ragatz, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Viesselman, Viesselman & Barke, P.A., 123 Downtown Plaza,
Michael Clinton Davis, Special Assistant State Public Defender, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite 1610W, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.
Appellant challenges his conviction of first-degree burglary, arguing that the testimony of the state’s witnesses was too inconsistent to provide sufficient evidence to support the conviction. Because the record contains evidence sufficient to support the conviction, we affirm.
Appellant had been B.L.’s friend and, until recently, S.S.’s boyfriend. B.L. and S.S. told the officers that appellant had been upset that they were together and, that night, had made multiple phone calls and left messages swearing, calling them names, and threatening “to pound [B.L.’s] face in.” Both testified that, after the phone calls and while they were in the living room, appellant banged on the door, yelled, and broke a window before leaving. Both testified that appellant later returned to the house and entered the second floor bedroom where B.L. and S.S. were sleeping, kicked B.L. in the face, and threatened them before leaving.
Officers responded to both calls. They observed the broken window, the place of entry on the second floor, S.S.’s car in the garage, a note on the front door written by B.L. telling S.S. to come upstairs when she arrived, and B.L.’s facial injuries. They also listened to one of appellant’s phone messages in which he was angry and threatening and admitted seeing the note on the front door of the house.
The officers attempted to locate appellant after each incident, but appellant did not answer the door of his home and did not talk to an officer until appellant’s father interceded. When interviewed about 11:00 a.m., appellant admitted that he had identified himself as his father in an earlier call from law enforcement. He also stated that he had just learned on March 18 that S.S. was seeing B.L., that he was not happy about it, that he was driven by a friend past B.L.’s house the night of March 19, that he phoned the residence, and that he saw S.S.’s car there and also the post-it note on the door. But, he denied taking part in the two incidents and claimed he was either at home or at a friend’s house the entire evening.
After trial, a jury found appellant guilty of first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal damage to property, and fifth-degree assault. Appellant did not testify, but called witnesses who stated that they had partied at his house with him all night. He received an executed sentence of 48 months and was also ordered to pay restitution.
Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove first-degree burglary due to the inconsistencies in the testimonies of B.L. and S.S., together with their strong motive to fabricate. He does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the first-degree criminal damage to property and fifth-degree assault convictions.
court’s review of a claim of insufficient evidence is limited to determining
whether the jury could have reasonably concluded that the defendant is guilty
of the offense based on the evidence presented at trial. State v.
Quick, 659 N.W.2d 701, 709 (
enters a building without consent and assaults a person within the building
commits first-degree burglary.
The testimony of B.L. and S.S. regarding the events of the evening was substantially consistent. It deviated only on insignificant details, like the identity of the driver of the vehicle that appellant arrived in for the first incident, the specific time of the events, and when two other guests were present at the house. Their testimony was consistent regarding appellant making harassing and threatening phone calls, breaking the window and yelling during the first incident, and kicking B.L. and yelling during the second incident. They also testified that they feared that appellant would return after the first incident, so B.L. decided to have a gun near the bed. Their eyewitness accounts were corroborated by the police reports and physical evidence, including (1) the note on the front door; (2) the vehicle in the garage; (3) the location of the entry into the home; (4) the photos of the damaged window and the condition of B.L.’s face after the assault; and (5) the message on the answering machine. Appellant also told police that he was angry about the couple being together, admitted that he drove by the residence, that he read the note on the front door, and that he knew that S.S.’s vehicle was at the residence. Notably, the record reflects that the vehicle and note would not have been visible from the street; an observer of either would have had to be close to the residence itself.
credibility of a witness is an issue for the jury, because the jury is in the
best position to make such a determination.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.