Inmate to testify against Guzzo in Duluth home invasion trial
Prison inmate David Earl Schiller, the Two Harbors man who orchestrated the Congdon Park home invasion in which a mother and her son were terrorized at gunpoint, placed a call to St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin on Monday looking to shorten his 9½-year sentence.
Schiller wanted to talk to Rubin about what his testimony might be worth if he agreed to take the stand in the trial of his co-defendant, Ian Guzzo, starting Thursday in Duluth.
Guzzo, 20, is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting first-degree burglary and one count of aiding and abetting kidnapping for his alleged role in the Aug. 30, 2007, crime. Evidence has been
presented that Guzzo drew detailed maps of the inside of the home that Schiller and a third co-defendant, Jonathan Phipps, used. Guzzo sometimes stayed with the victims' family and knew the home's layout. Phipps pleaded guilty to two crimes and is serving an 8¾-year prison sentence.
In December, Schiller testified that he intended to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and not testify at Guzzo's trial. He also had prepared a memorandum of law to present to the court Monday in which he was expected to assert that right.
But after meeting in a St. Louis County Courthouse holding cell with Rubin on Monday afternoon, Schiller came into court and told Judge Shaun Floerke that he changed his mind and would testify against Guzzo.
Rubin told the court that Schiller wanted something for his testimony. The prosecutor said he talked to the victims' family and they were willing to sign off on what the St. Louis County Attorney's Office said it could do for Schiller.
Rubin said he told Schiller that in exchange for his testimony, the county attorney's office would not be opposed to a reduction in time served if Schiller were able to petition his sentencing court for review of his sentence. But the sentences would have to remain in the guideline range and Schiller would continue to have to serve separate sentences for each of the two convictions.
Schiller was sentenced in July to 57 months in prison, the longest sentence possible under state guidelines, for first-degree burglary and
57 months for the kidnapping of the boy. The guideline range for each of the two convictions is 41 months to 57 months in prison.
Defense lawyer William Paul argued that Schiller shouldn't be able to submit a legal memorandum to the court Monday and then withdraw it after meeting with Rubin. Under questioning by Paul, Schiller said, "I was never fully sure what I was going to do before I came here.''
Paul asked Floerke to release to the media the document that the inmate provided to the court in which the inmate originally said he intended to assert his privilege not to testify before he changed his mind.
Rubin asked the court to seal the document. Floerke said it would be sealed for 24 hours but remain part of the court file.
Paul declined public comment after the hearing. Rubin said he intends to call Schiller to testify at Guzzo's trial. He declined further comment.