Victim talks about Duluth home invasion, says suspect was a good kid
St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin told jurors Tuesday that he didn't have to prove Ian Guzzo was a bad kid -- just that Guzzo did a bad thing. A Congdon Park mother then took the witness stand and said Guzzo was a good kid, but she made some...
St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin told jurors Tuesday that he didn't have to prove Ian Guzzo was a bad kid -- just that Guzzo did a bad thing.
A Congdon Park mother then took the witness stand and said Guzzo was a good kid, but she made some jurors wince when she told of the nightmare she and her 9-year-old son suffered as the result of an armed home invasion that Guzzo is accused of helping set up to rob her family.
Kelly Hurley, the married mother of four children, might have been Guzzo's worst witness, his best witness, or possibly both. Jurors will have to sort that out.
Under questioning by Rubin, Hurley testified that she was in bed about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2007, when she awoke to a man dressed in blue jeans, a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark glasses and a bandanna over his face, holding a gun with a red laser sight on her face.
"He said, 'Get out of bed and get on the floor,' " Hurley testified.
"I said, 'Is this a joke?' He said, 'This is no joke. Get out of bed and get on the floor.' ''
Hurley said the man, who turned out to be David Schiller of Two Harbors and who is serving a 9½-year prison sentence for his role in the crime, then asked her where the family's safe was.
She said he zip-tied her hands behind her back and at one point was on top of her on the floor. He then marched her down the hall where she saw another intruder. Jonathon Phipps, who is
serving nine years for his role in the crime, had zip-tied her youngest son's hands behind his back and had a gun to his temple, she said.
"At that point, David Schiller said, 'I'll kill him if you don't give us what we want,' '' Hurley testified.
When Schiller and Phipps found out that the safe contained nothing but birth certificates and passports, and when two electrical contractors showed up at the door of the house to do some repairs, the two intruders fled. Guzzo was not at the scene.
A Duluth police investigation linked Guzzo to Schiller and Phipps.
Guzzo, a 20-year-old former Marshall School hockey player, is standing trial before Judge Shaun Floerke on a charge of aiding and abetting first-degree burglary. Rubin dropped two other charges Tuesday.
According to a handwriting expert from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, maps of the Hurley home's floor plan were consistent with being drawn by Guzzo. Schiller testified at his plea hearing that the idea to burglarize the home came from Guzzo. Schiller had first told police that Guzzo had no involvement in the crime.
Victim says he was a good kid
Hurley told jurors that her six-member family had moved a lot and she always told her children to embrace new people. She said she welcomed Guzzo to stay overnight with her family because she didn't like the fact that Guzzo -- a close friend and Marshall School hockey teammate of her son William -- had to drive to his Two Harbors' home after late practices and games.
She said Guzzo spent many nights there during the 2006-07 high school hockey season. She said she purchased him a cot, provided meals, did his laundry and even invited him on a family trip to Mexico, which he declined.
Defense attorney William Paul asked the victim if his client was a pleasant young man; cordial, polite, courteous, and a good hockey player. Hurley said he was all of that. Paul asked the victim to grade Guzzo's behavior on a 1-10 scale. She gave him an 8 and said he was a good kid.
But she also testified that Guzzo had reason to know there was a safe in her bedroom because he had used the shower there. She identified the floor plans found with Schiller as accurately portraying the inside of her home. She said she didn't believe Schiller had ever been in her home before the crime.
Hurley also testified that she noticed a change in the defendant when he attended her son William's graduation party a couple of months before the home invasion. She said she used to hug him, but he was "very cool, or aloof and standoffish'' at that party. She said he wouldn't look her in the eye. She suspected that his behavior was partly because of him spending time with someone who was involved in drugs.
Paul told jurors in his opening statement that William Hurley had driven his father's late model Cadillac Escalade to a party and that got the attention of Schiller, who was there. Paul said Schiller asked Guzzo who the driver was and Guzzo "nonchalantly said, 'That's Bill Hurley. His family has a lot of money.' "
Paul said that set in motion a series of events in which Schiller attempted to recruit others to rob the Hurley residence. He said Schiller made an attempt to do so at an earlier time but changed his mind when he ran into the family dog.