Mille Lacs County District Court File No. 48-CR-11-1770
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Jennifer Coates, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Janice Jude, Mille Lacs County Attorney, Milaca, Minnesota (for respondent).
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Bridget K. Sabo, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Justin P. Krypel, Special Assistant Public Defender, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Schellhas, Judge.
The definition of dangerous weapon found in CRIMJIG 13.10 (2006) accurately conveys the substance of the definition of dangerous weapon found in Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 6 (2010).
Appellant challenges his conviction of second-degree assault, arguing that (1) the district court erred when it instructed the jury on the definition of a dangerous weapon consistent with CRIMJIG 13.10, and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.
Respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Derrick Weyaus with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon under Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (2010); third-degree assault (substantial bodily harm) under Minn. Stat. § 609.223, subd. 1 (2010); and fifth-degree assault under Minn. Stat. § 609.224, subd. 1(2) (2010). The charges arose out of events that occurred on the evening of July 25, 2011, and the morning of July 26, 2011, during which Weyaus allegedly struck B.S. with a child's folding stadium chair.
During trial, B.S. testified that, on July 25, 2011, B.S. babysat his cousin L.M.'s two young children at L.M.'s home in Mille Lacs County. L.M.'s uncle also resided there. Sometime between 10:00 p.m. and midnight, L.M. went to a party at a home 30 seconds away by car; her uncle also went to the party separately. B.S. testified that he later gave D.K., someone L.M. had dated, a ride to the party. For reasons not clear in the record, after B.S. arrived at the party, an unidentified man punched B.S. in the jaw. B.S. punched back and another man attempted to punch B.S. D.K. then punched the man who attempted to punch B.S. and yelled at B.S. to return to their vehicle. B.S. then drove D.K. and himself back to L.M.'s home. Sometime later, before L.M. and her uncle returned home, B.S. stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. The next thing that B.S. recalls is waking in a hospital the next day with injuries.
L.M. testified that she and Weyaus drank alcohol at the party and that she and her uncle then walked home, arriving at around 4:00 a.m. Later, L.M. wondered about B.S.'s whereabouts and found him lying outside on the ground in a fetal position and helpless, while Weyaus hit him with a chair. A "group of girls" was with Weyaus. L.M. saw Weyaus hit B.S. with the chair twice, lifting it over his head and swinging it down onto B.S. L.M.'s uncle then came outside and confronted Weyaus, who asked L.M.'s uncle if he "'want[ed] some too.'" L.M.'s uncle scuffled with Weyaus, eventually knocking out Weyaus. At some point, the group of girls also tried to fight L.M.'s uncle.
L.M. helped B.S. get up and come inside the house and then called 911. At the time, B.S.'s eyes were rolled back into his head, he said nothing, and he did not appear to understand the events occurring around him. L.M. told Weyaus, who was lying on the ground, and the group of girls that she had called the police. Weyaus got up and he and the group of girls ran away. L.M. then noticed that blood was "everywhere in [her] doorway" and where B.S. had been lying and that some of her vehicle's windows had been broken. She also soon noticed that B.S. was missing.
Mille Lacs Tribal Peace Officer Robert Wall arrived at L.M.'s home around the time when L.M. discovered that B.S. was missing. L.M. and her uncle provided Officer Wall consistent information about the events that had occurred, and L.M. urged Officer Wall to arrest Weyaus. Officer Wall went to Weyaus's nearby residence and discovered a vehicle with smashed-out windows and blood all over its doors. Back at L.M.'s home, Officer Wall located the folding chair, with which Weyaus had allegedly struck B.S., and eventually located B.S. about 150–200 yards away from L.M.'s home, lying unconscious beside a tree, with facial and head injuries. Officer Wall called for an ambulance and observed that, as B.S. tried to recall what happened, he became "kind of delirious."
An emergency-room treating physician testified that B.S.'s injuries included a scalp hematoma, facial contusion and swelling, neck and chest swelling with anterior chest contusions, trace amounts of blood in his urine, and a concussion. He explained that a concussion can be accompanied by loss of consciousness and temporary or permanent cognitive problems, including memory loss. The district court admitted the folding chair into evidence at trial. It was a child's Mickey Mouse folding stadium chair. B.S. testified that he fully recovered from his injuries.
The district court denied Weyaus's judgment-of-acquittal motion, and Weyaus waived his right to testify. The jury found Weyaus guilty of all counts. The court entered judgment of conviction only ...