Lyon County District Court File No. 42-CR-11-1106
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Michael Thomas Everson, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Richard Robert Maes, Lyon County Attorney, Marshall, Minnesota (for respondent).
Melissa Victoria Sheridan, Assistant Appellate Public Defender, Eagan, Minnesota (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Chutich, Judge; and Smith, Judge.
In this appeal from convictions of first-degree burglary of an occupied dwelling, aiding first-degree assault, aiding third-degree assault, and aiding first-degree burglary-assault, appellant argues that the evidence, which consisted primarily of evidence of appellant's presence at the scene of the assault and burglary, did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt his guilt as an aider and abettor. We affirm.
V.D., A.S., and four of their friends, all university students, went to a bar to celebrate an anniversary. When the bar closed, the group went outside and waited for a ride. A.S. overheard G.T., who was not with the group, swearing loudly. A.S. asked him to stop swearing, and G.T., who was intoxicated, became very angry. Another student intervened, and A.S. and his girlfriend moved to a different area to wait for their ride.
G.T. then charged toward A.S., swearing at him, and V.D. and others intervened and separated G.T. from A.S. G.T.'s friend K.K. joined the fracas and began punching V.D. The altercation ended after several students pulled K.K. off of V.D. K.K. received a small cut on his eye, and his shirt was ripped.
K.K. and G.T.'s roommate T.T. were both upset with G.T. because they believed that he had started the whole incident. K.K. left, and G.T. and T.T. went to their apartment and told some friends about the fight, but no one was upset at that point. Appellant Rikesh Tuladhar came to the apartment about 20 minutes later, and G.T. told him that K.K. was beaten up by two or three guys and had suffered a bloody nose during the fight. Appellant got upset, and the mood in the apartment became "pretty intense." Appellant said that they should go to V.D.'s apartment and "solve this matter today" and that "they can't do this to us." Appellant contacted K.K., and appellant, K.K., G.T., and T.T. went to V.D.'s apartment.
When the doorbell rang at V.D.'s apartment, V.D. assumed that his roommate had arrived. As V.D. opened the door, four men pushed their way into the apartment, charged at V.D., and began hitting and kicking him. A.S. was in the apartment and managed to get V.D. away from the assailants and push the four men out of the apartment. A.S. described appellant as being aggressive and looking very mad. V.D.'s left eye globe was ruptured during the assault and will require multiple surgeries to repair, and he is likely to suffer a permanent loss of visual acuity in that eye.
Appellant, T.T., G.T., and K.K. returned to T.T.'s and G.T.'s apartment. A third roommate noted that the four men appeared very nervous and that K.K. washed his hands or face in the sink while appellant and G.T. stood nearby wiping their hands. K.K. and T.T. commented that "it's bad" and "he's bleeding from his eyes."
Marshall Police Officers Aaron Quesenberry and Benjamin Rieke responded to A.S.'s 911 call. A.S. knew G.T., K.K., and appellant from school and identified them to the officers as V.D.'s assailants. A.S. recognized the fourth assailant but could not recall his name. A.S. took officers to the apartment building where he believed K.K. lived. K.K. and appellant were outside smoking cigarettes, and T.T. and G.T. were ...