County Office of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Matthew Frank, Assistant Attorney
General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and John J. Muhar, Itasca
County Attorney, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, for respondent.
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rachel
F. Bond, Assistant Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota,
There was sufficient corroboration of the accomplice
district court did not abuse its discretion in denying
appellant's request for jury instructions on the
reliability of testimony by witnesses under the influence of
drugs and the credibility of testimony by an uncharged
accessory after the fact.
Christen Thoresen was convicted of first-degree premeditated
murder and sentenced to life in prison without the
possibility of release. On direct appeal, Thoresen raises two
issues. First, he argues that his conviction was based on
uncorroborated accomplice testimony in violation of Minn.
Stat. § 634.04 (2018). Second, he argues that the
district court abused its discretion in denying his request
for jury instructions regarding the credibility of drug users
and uncharged accessories after the fact. We hold that the
accomplice testimony was sufficiently corroborated and the
district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the
requested jury instructions. We therefore affirm.
21, 2016, David Haiman was killed on a remote trail in Itasca
County. Following a police investigation, Thoresen was
charged with several offenses, including first-degree
premeditated murder. Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(1) (2018).
His alleged accomplice, Kayleene Greniger, pleaded guilty to
second-degree intentional murder and was sentenced to 30
years in prison. As a condition of her plea agreement,
Greniger testified against Thoresen at his jury trial.
to Greniger, she and Thoresen were romantically involved and
lived together in Grand Rapids when the victim was killed. On
June 20, 2016, she and Thoresen smoked methamphetamine and
marijuana, drank alcohol, and used cocaine with Haiman at
their apartment. Thoresen, who was more than 6 feet tall and
weighed about 200 pounds, "aggressive[ly]" told
Haiman, who was 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed about 180
pounds, that they needed to talk in the bedroom. Greniger,
who is about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 100
pounds, went to the bedroom with them. After they entered the
bedroom, Thoresen and Greniger tied Haiman to a chair and
repeatedly hit him.
support to Greniger's testimony about the assault she and
Thoresen committed against Haiman in their apartment, a
witness, J.D., testified that she observed that Haiman had
multiple injuries that were consistent with being tied up and
beaten. More specifically, Haiman told J.D. that Thoresen and
Greniger had tied him up and would not let him go to work.
Another witness, J.G., testified that he saw Thoresen throw
Haiman up against the wall and later saw Haiman tied to a
chair and lying on the floor of the bedroom. Another witness
testified that he saw blood splatter on Thoresen's pants.
testified that while Haiman remained bound to the chair,
Thoresen removed Haiman's keys and phone from his pocket
and took his car, leaving Haiman tied up. Hours later,
Thoresen untied Haiman and escorted him to Haiman's car,
a maroon two-door sedan. When Greniger joined them a few
minutes later, she saw Thoresen's machete between the
driver's-side door and the seat. Thoresen's friend,
R.G., testified that Thoresen and Greniger came to his house
with a man who remained in the back seat of the
"maroon" car they drove. Thoresen told R.G. that
Thoresen "was looking for something to use to put a farm
animal down that was injured and couldn't be saved."
R.G. understood that to mean that Thoresen was going to kill
a farm animal, but he did not see any farm animals with
Thoresen and Greniger that day.
to Greniger's testimony, Haiman sat in the back seat as
Thoresen then drove the trio to J.D.'s house, where they
used more methamphetamine. There, Greniger and Thoresen took
J.D's four-wheeler out for a ride on J.D.'s property,
leaving Haiman and J.D. behind. Greniger testified that there
was a baseball bat on the back of the four-wheeler. During
their ride, Thoresen stopped, turned the four-wheeler off,
and told Greniger that they were going to kill Haiman.
Consistent with Greniger's testimony, J.D. told the jury
that Greniger and Thoresen drove her four-wheeler around the
property. Because J.D. was not watching closely, she admitted
that she did not know whether they stopped during the ride.
Thoresen and Greniger returned to J.D's house after the
four-wheeler ride and consumed more methamphetamine with J.D.
and Haiman. Greniger saw Thoresen grab two knives from
J.D.'s house as they left and put them in Greniger's
purse. She also saw the baseball bat in the car next to the
testified that with Thoresen driving and Haiman in the back
seat, they next drove down a "trail in the woods,"
hit a puddle of mud, and the car started steaming. Thoresen
stopped the car and told Haiman to check the oil. Greniger
let Haiman out on the passenger side of the two-door sedan
and put her head down to start rolling a cigarette. Greniger
testified that Thoresen, meanwhile, got out of the
driver's side with a baseball bat in his hand, walked to
the front of the car, and hit Haiman on the head twice,
knocking him to the ground. Greniger grabbed the knives from
her purse, and Thoresen and Greniger stabbed Haiman multiple
times. Greniger then cut off Haiman's head with the
machete. Thoresen grabbed Haiman's body by the ankles and
dragged it into the woods. He stuck a knife in Haiman's
temple, placed the head in a bag, and threw the bag into the
friend of Thoresen's, T.C., provided support for some of
Greniger's testimony about the events in the woods.
Greniger testified that, after the murder, she and Thoresen
drove to T.C.'s house in Haiman's car. T.C. verified
that Thoresen drove a red sedan to his house. Thoresen told
T.C. that the car belonged to "a kid" whom Thoresen
"had hit . . . in the head with a bat twice" and
whose head he had cut off with a machete. T.C. also testified
that he saw a bat among Thoresen and Greniger's things
when they came to his house. Later, T.C. found a bat in his
yard with a large red stain on it that he presumed to be