Lake County deputy testifies in Guzzo caseJurors in the Congdon Park home invasion trial will hear from the man accused of drawing a detailed map to aid in the August 2007 break-in and robbery: defendant Ian Guzzo.
By: Mark Stodghill, Lake County News Chronicle
Jurors in the Congdon Park home invasion trial this morning heard the words of convicted burglar and kidnapper David Schiller — a man who they’ve been given evidence to believe is evil and a liar under oath.
This afternoon they get to hear the words of the man St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin said he would build his case around — defendant Ian Guzzo.
With jurors excused for lunch, Guzzo, 20, of Two Harbors informed Judge Shaun Floerke that he intends to testify in his own defense. Floerke advised the defendant that the decision must be his, not his father’s nor his attorney’s. Guzzo said: “I want to tell the true story.’’
The defendant is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree burglary in the Aug. 30, 2007, incident in which two alleged accomplices broke into a home and terrorized a mother and her 9-year-old son at gunpoint, threatening to kill the boy.
Defense attorney William Paul introduced into evidence this morning statements Schiller gave at his plea hearing and that he gave to Lake County sheriff’s deputies when he pleaded guilty to two other burglaries earlier this month.
Schiller is serving a 9½-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree burglary and kidnapping as the ring leader of the home invasion. An accomplice, Jonathon Phipps, also pleaded guilty to the same crimes and is serving an 8¾-year sentence.
Schiller returned to Two Harbors from the Moose Lake prison on June 1 to plead guilty to two other burglaries in Lake County. During that plea hearing, he implicated Guzzo in one of the burglaries. Jurors also heard, however, that on the same day Schiller said under oath that Guzzo assisted him in a burglary, he later recanted. Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Erickson, who was called today to testify by the defense, said Schiller told Erickson that he had perjured himself, because Guzzo did not take part in that burglary.
The defense has scored points by continually attacking Schiller’s credibility throughout the trial.
But Rubin has continually argued that the case isn’t about Schiller; it’s about the role Guzzo allegedly played in leading to the victimization of a mother and her young son.
Under questioning by Rubin, Erickson told jurors that Guzzo did admit to him that he pawned jewelry that was stolen by Schiller. The deputy said Guzzo told him that Schiller said the jewelry had belonged to Schiller’s grandmother. Guzzo used his own name when he pawned the jewelry at a Duluth pawn shop.
Rubin also pointed out to jurors that the two guns used by Schiller and Phipps in the Congdon Park home invasion were stolen in the same home burglary the pawned jewelry came from.