Itasca County District Court File No. 31-CR-11-2850
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, James B. Early, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John J. Muhar, Itasca County Attorney, Grand Rapids, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Bridget Kearns Sabo, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Smith, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.
Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction of second-degree assault, arguing that the bar stool he used to commit the assault is not a dangerous weapon. We affirm.
On October 2, 2011, appellant Duane Nyquist and a female friend went to a bar in Bovey. K.L. and the bartender were the only other people in the bar that evening. Approximately an hour later, K.L. and Nyquist's friend got into a verbal altercation during which K.L. called her a "b-tch" and told her to "shut up." Nyquist confronted K.L. about this exchange, threw him to the ground, and hit him in the head and upper body with a bar stool several times. K.L. testified that he did not know how he ended up on the floor but recalled Nyquist jabbing the bar stool up and down toward his face four or five times. The bartender testified that Nyquist hit K.L. with the bar stool "[t]hree or four times or more" before throwing the bar stool at K.L. and running out of the bar.
K.L. suffered injuries as a result of the assault, including a chin laceration that required seven or eight stitches; a swollen, blackened eye; a bloody nose; bruising and scrapes on his arm; and a mark on his back. Investigating police chief William Hollom testified that K.L.'s shirt was bloody and that the marks on K.L.'s body were consistent with the legs of a bar stool.
Respondent State of Minnesota charged Nyquist with both second-degree assault (dangerous weapon) and fifth-degree assault. The jury found Nyquist guilty as charged. This appeal follows.
In considering a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we carefully analyze 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 "the jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary." State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989). 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 the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. Bernhardt v. State, 684 N.W.2d 465, 476-77 (Minn. 2004).
A person commits second-degree assault if he "assaults another with a dangerous weapon." Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (2010). A "dangerous weapon" is defined, in relevant part, as a "device or instrumentality that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm." Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 6 (2010). Great bodily harm is "bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or ...