of Appeals, Office of Appellate Courts
Ellison, Attorney General, Michael Everson, Assistant
Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michelle Eldien,
Otter Tail County Attorney, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, for
Melissa Sheridan, Eagan, Minnesota; and Bradford Colbert,
Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners, Saint Paul,
Minnesota, for appellant.
the absence of constitutional error, the admission of
prejudicial evidence does not impose on the State the burden
to prove that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable
district court did not abuse its discretion by denying
appellant's motion for a mistrial.
Michael Paul Valentine Jaros challenges his conviction of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment,
arguing that he was deprived of a fair trial when a detective
improperly testified about photographs that were found on
Jaros's cellphone. The district court denied Jaros's
motion for a mistrial after the detective's testimony. We
11, 2016, T.H. attended a street dance in Fergus Falls. T.H.
was sitting at a picnic table with T.F., whom she had met the
previous night, when appellant Michael Jaros and his
girlfriend Stephanie Holding-Eagle came to sit by them. The
four people talked and drank together.
about 10:45 p.m., the group drove to another bar. T.H. drank
only water at the second bar because she had already had
several drinks. Jaros and T.H. flirted with each other while
at the bar. When Jaros and Holding-Eagle went outside to
smoke, people at the bar told T.H. that Jaros and
Holding-Eagle were married.
went outside to ask Jaros and Holding-Eagle what was going
on. Jaros and Holding-Eagle denied that they were a couple,
but T.H. wanted to leave the bar, so she climbed over the
deck. In doing so, she scraped her leg. She sat in the
parking lot and began to cry.
came outside. He told T.H. that he had "a weird
vibe" from Jaros and Holding-Eagle. Jaros and
Holding-Eagle came over to T.H. and told her to come back to
Jaros's house. T.H. agreed.
and Jaros arrived at Jaros's house around 12:30 a.m.
after picking up T.H.'s car from the first bar.
Holding-Eagle arrived shortly after them. The three had
drinks and played a game. After an hour and a half, T.H.
began to get tired and said she wanted to go home. Jaros and
Holding-Eagle told her that she had had too much to drink and
should not drive.
lay down on the couch. Holding-Eagle came over to her and
started rubbing her crotch against T.H.'s leg. T.H. told
her to stop, but Holding-Eagle did not listen and continued,
trying to get under T.H.'s blanket. T.H. yelled out to
Jaros, "Mike, come get her off of me." T.H. was
facing toward the back of the couch on her side and Jaros,
who had taken off all of his clothes except his boxers, lay
behind her and started pushing up against her. T.H. told him
to get off of her, saying that she did not like what he was
doing and just wanted to sleep.
sat up and Holding-Eagle pulled his penis out of his boxers.
She tried to get T.H. to look, saying, "Look at it.
Isn't it big?" T.H. told her she did not want to
look at it and said, "Get off of me. I just want to
leave." At that point, Holding-Eagle said to Jaros,
"Okay, let's just leave her alone," and Jaros
and Holding-Eagle went outside to smoke by the front door.
While they were outside, T.H. went out the side door, got in
her car, and left.
went back, however, because she had forgotten her phone. When
she arrived, she saw Holding-Eagle outside. Holding-Eagle
told T.H. that T.H. had upset Jaros. T.H. went inside to get
her phone and Jaros came to the room and sat on the couch.
Holding-Eagle followed T.H. inside and stood by the door.
told Jaros that she was sorry and did not mean to upset him
but that she just wanted her phone and then wanted to go
home. Jaros responded, "Well, now you've got to make
it up to me." When T.H. moved to leave, Jaros grabbed
her by the arm and "slammed" her onto the couch.
T.H. told Jaros to get off of her and said she was going to
call the police. Jaros slapped T.H. and told her not to talk
to him like that. He began to pull off T.H.'s jeans and
underwear as she tried to kick him and push him off of her.
T.H. asked Holding-Eagle to get Jaros off of her.
Holding-Eagle replied that T.H. should not have made Jaros
pulling off T.H.'s jeans and underwear, Jaros raped her
by penetrating her vagina. She repeatedly told him to stop
and told him it hurt, but he just said, "[Y]ou
shouldn't have pissed me off." Holding-Eagle watched
Jaros rape T.H., and told him, "Don't choke her too
much because we don't want her passing out."
Whenever T.H. told Jaros that he was hurting her, he would
reply, "After every sentence you say, you need to say
'sir.'" Then he told Holding-Eagle to give oral
sex to T.H. After Holding-Eagle gave oral sex to T.H., Jaros
penetrated T.H.'s vagina again. She began to bleed and
Jaros asked if she was on her period. T.H. responded that she
was not and that she was probably bleeding because he was
hurting her. Jaros slapped her again, and said,
"Don't lie to me." T.H. said Jaros raped her
"again and again" and then pulled off the rest of
her clothes and made her go to his bedroom. Jaros then put
T.H. down onto the bed and got on top of her. He penetrated
her vagina again. She told him again to stop and that he was
raped T.H. between 2 and 2½ hours. Eventually, Jaros
stopped. He got up and told that her she could go. Before she
left, T.H. grabbed a piece of his mail from a table.
drove straight to the hospital. She spoke to Detective
Shirkey of the Fergus Falls Police Department at the hospital
and told him what had happened. Detective Shirkey took
photographs of bruises on T.H.'s arms, legs, and neck.
T.H. also identified pictures of Jaros and Holding-Eagle in
doctor then examined T.H. As he did so, T.H. bled on her
hospital gown and sheets. A nurse took additional pictures of
T.H.'s injuries during the examination and took vaginal,
rectal, and skin swabs to be sent to the Minnesota Bureau of
Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The nurse testified that, during
the intake process, T.H. provided specifics about the
doctor and nurse observed bruising on T.H.'s outer thigh,
arms and wrists, neck, and ankles. They also observed
internal vaginal bleeding from a "fresh" vaginal
tear and dried blood on her perineum area. The doctor further
observed a fresh tear that was about one centimeter in length
on the back wall of T.H.'s vagina and an abrasion on the
side wall of T.H.'s vagina. He noted that it was uncommon
to see injuries inside the vagina, so he took pictures to
document those injuries.
witness from the BCA testified that the BCA serologist found
seminal fluid on the swabs submitted by the hospital. The BCA
witness took a sperm cell fraction of the perineal swabs that
had a mixture of more than one person's DNA and found
that, while Holding-Eagle's DNA could be excluded from
the mixture, Jaros's and T.H.'s DNA could not be
excluded as a source of the mixture.
speaking with T.H. at the hospital, Detective Shirkey
obtained a search warrant for Jaros's home. Jaros and
Holding-Eagle were in the residence at the time of the search
and they were both arrested. On the same day, Detective
Shirkey met with Jaros at the Otter Tail County Detention
Facility. During the interview, Jaros ...