This opinion will be unpublished and
                  may not be cited except as provided by
               Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).

                          State of Minnesota
                            in Court of Appeals
                              CX-95-1502

     State of Minnesota,
     Respondent,
     vs.


Robert Lincoln Van Zandt, a/k/a Robert Thomas Van Zandt, a/k/a Jack Ron
Green,
     Appellant.
     Filed May 14, 1996
Affirmed
Lansing, Judge

Ramsey County District Court

File No. K7942592

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Suite 1400, 445 Minnesota Street,
St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent).

Susan E. Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant
County Attorney, Suite 315, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102
(for Respondent).

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant State
Public Defender, Suite 600, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN
55414 (for Appellant).

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and
Short, Judge.
                       U N P U B L I S H E D

LANSING, Judge (Hon. Lawrence D. Cohen, District Court Trial Judge)

This is an appeal from a child-sodomy conviction challenging the scope of
rebuttal evidence. It was within the district court's discretion to admit
evidence that defendant had been implicated in a sexual offense
investigation to rebut defendant's testimony that he fled the jurisdiction
due to threats on his life. We affirm.
                                     
                               Facts

In April 1975 twelve-year-old K.M.C. accused her mother's boyfriend, Robert
Van Zandt, of sexual abuse. According to K.M.C., a few months after Van
Zandt moved in with her family in 1971, he called her into his bedroom and
showed her a book with sexually explicit photographs. Within three or four
months, Van Zandt performed oral sex on K.M.C. and forced her to perform
oral sex on him several times a month. Van Zandt showed K.M.C. the sexually
explicit pictures and instructed her to imitate them.

On April 15, 1975, Ramsey County charged Van Zandt with sodomy with a
child, Minn. Stat. 𨺹.293, subd. 4(2) (1974). Van Zandt made one
court appearance but disappeared in late April 1975.

Nineteen years later Van Zandt, who had changed his name and social
security number, sought custody of his son in Idaho. A background
investigation revealed the 1975 Minnesota charges and Van Zandt's fugitive
status. On August 16, 1994, Ramsey County filed a complaint charging Van
Zandt with sodomy with a child, and Van Zandt was arrested in Idaho under a
fugitive warrant.

Van Zandt testified that he lived with K.M.C.'s family but had not sexually
abused her. He testified that he left Minnesota in late April 1975 because
he met a man at the Fargo, North Dakota bus station who pointed a gun at
Van Zandt's head and told him to ``leave the area.'' Van Zandt took the
next bus, which happened to go to Idaho, and lived there until 1994. In
addition to three Spreigl incidents, the district court admitted
rebuttal evidence that in early summer 1975, a nine-year-old boy identified
Van Zandt from a photographic lineup as the man who had abducted him from a
Fargo motel room and sexually molested him.



On February 24, 1995, the jury found Van Zandt guilty of sodomy with a
child. Van Zandt appeals.
                                     
                              Decision

Rebuttal evidence ``explains, contradicts, or refutes the defendant's
evidence.'' State v. Swanson, 498 N.W.2d 435, 440 (Minn. 1993). The
purpose of rebuttal evidence is to ``cut down the defendant's case'' rather
than confirm the state's case in chief. State v. Walker, 306 Minn.
105, 112, 235 N.W.2d 810, 815 (1975), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 950, 96
S.Ct. 3172 (1976). Determining what constitutes proper rebuttal evidence
``rests almost wholly'' in the district court's discretion. State v.
Eling, 355 N.W.2d 286, 291 (Minn. 1984). Rebuttal evidence is not
limited to impeachment by cross-examination but may include extrinsic
evidence. See Swanson, 498 N.W.2d at 440 (upholding new witness's
testimony in rebuttal).

Van Zandt challenges the rebuttal evidence as an improper use of
Spreigl evidence, claiming that it is irrelevant and lacks probative
value. See State v. Spreigl, 272 Minn. 488, 139 N.W.2d 167 (1965)
(imposing procedural safeguards on admissibility of other-crime evidence).
Van Zandt's argument, however, mischaracterizes the evidence and its
purpose. Unlike the earlier Spreigl testimony of three young people
detailing instances of Van Zandt's sexual conduct, the evidence of Van
Zandt's identification in the Fargo investigation was not admitted to show
a common scheme or plan. The rebuttal evidence was permitted to counter Van
Zandt's testimony that his nineteen-year flight from the jurisdiction was
because of a threat made against his life in Fargo.

Van Zandt testified that a man at the bus station in Fargo ``[p]ut a gun to
my head and said if I wasn't out of the area he['d] blow my damn brains
out.'' Van Zandt then explained that he went to Idaho and never returned to
Minnesota, because ``I was afraid somebody was going to kill me.'' This
explanation of his nineteen-year absence discounts inferences that his
flight from Minnesota and concealment of his identity were related to a
consciousness of guilt.

The district court permitted the prosecution to respond to Van Zandt's
testimony with evidence suggesting that his flight from North Dakota may
have been prompted not by a threat to his life, but by his identification
in the Fargo incident. This evidence rebuts Van Zandt's testimony that he
fled Minnesota, not because of K.M.C.'s accusations, but because he feared
for his life. The district court acted within its discretion in admitting
the rebuttal evidence countering Van Zandt's explanation of his flight.
See Swanson, 498 N.W.2d at 440 (evidence of prior attempted
kidnapping was not admitted as Spreigl evidence but to rebut
defendant's claim that he was not stalking women).

Even if admitting the rebuttal evidence had been erroneous, it would not
require reversal. See State v. Loebach, 310 N.W.2d 58, 64 (Minn.
1981) (a defendant claiming an evidentiary error must establish prejudice
resulting from the error). An error is prejudicial only if there is a
reasonable possibility that the wrongfully admitted evidence significantly
affected the verdict. State v. Post, 512 N.W.2d 99, 102 n.2 (Minn.
1994). Id. The state presented strong evidence of Van Zandt's guilt
including detailed victim testimony and three Spreigl witnesses. To
the degree the rebuttal evidence demonstrated flight from an additional
jurisdiction, it only duplicated the evidence of Van Zandt's initial flight
from Ramsey County.
Affirmed.