Polk County District Court File No. 60-CR-10-982
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Gregory A. Widseth, Polk County Attorney, Crookston, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Toussaint, Judge. [*]
Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction of engaging in a pattern of harassing conduct and that the district court erred by imposing sentences on this charge and on the eight misdemeanor convictions that show the pattern of harassing conduct. We affirm appellant's conviction, but reverse the misdemeanor sentences and remand to the district court for re-sentencing.
Appellant John Kevin Allensworth and A.B. had been romantically involved for more than 14 years. In the last year of the relationship, A.B. stated that appellant "had become very controlling of me, obsessed with me. He was very manipulative, agitated most of the time, and I was miserable." A.B. informed appellant that she wanted no further contact with him; A.B. refused to talk on the telephone or in person with appellant and consistently told him that the relationship was over. A.B. became concerned because appellant "seemed not to take no for an answer."
On February 22, 2010, appellant went to A.B.'s workplace at a time when most of the staff was not there. Appellant hugged and kissed A.B., and A.B. told him to let go of her. Appellant responded by squeezing her tighter and asking, "Now what are you going to do about it?" A.B. said that she would have her co-worker call the police, and appellant released her. Shortly after this incident, appellant twice came to A.B.'s door and knocked. A.B. called the police, who spoke to appellant and instructed him not to contact A.B. On March 1, appellant again knocked on A.B.'s door; she contacted police, who told her to apply for an order for protection (OFP). On March 2, 2010, A.B. applied for and received an emergency OFP, which prohibited appellant from contacting her by any means.
On March 16, 2010, appellant called A.B. on the telephone; she reported the incident to the police. While the police officer was taking the report, appellant called again. The officer spoke to appellant and reminded him that he was prohibited from contacting A.B. On March 24, 2010, A.B. returned to court because appellant was challenging the OFP. On that day, the parties agreed that the district court could issue a harassment restraining order (HRO), which prohibited appellant from contacting A.B. by any means, including through third parties.
On March 29, appellant called A.B.'s workplace and talked to an employee, asking her to tell A.B. to call him. On April 8, appellant called A.B. at her home. On April 10, appellant knocked on A.B.'s door, covering the peephole with his hand and identifying himself as "Hugh." A.B. recognized his voice and told him to go away. A.B. watched appellant waving at her through the peephole. On May 9, 2010, appellant called A.B. and identified himself as "Kevin." Later, appellant called a second time. After each of these incidents, A.B. contacted the police. Appellant was taken into custody and charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of harassing conduct, two counts of violating an OFP, and five counts of violating an HRO.
While appellant was in custody, on October 19, 2010, A.B. received a postcard from him, addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. John Allensworth, " and referring to her as "dear wife." A.B. contacted the police. An additional charge of violation of an HRO was added. Before trial, appellant was civilly committed after a Rule 20 examination; he was ruled competent in June 2011, and trial followed in September 2011.
At trial on the nine charges, two police officers confirmed A.B.'s testimony and testified that they had both explained to appellant on more than one occasion that he could not contact A.B. Appellant did not testify and stipulated that he contacted A.B. five times while knowing that there was an active HRO prohibiting him from contacting A.B. Before trial, appellant dismissed his public defender and represented himself at trial, with the assistance of a standby attorney. Appellant called one witness, A.B.'s co-worker S.V., who testified that ...