Guzzo gets maximum sentence in home invasionA once-proud Duluth high school hockey captain shuffled out of a St. Louis County courtroom with his head bowed and tears in his eyes wearing a blue jail jump suit, handcuffs and leg irons after being sentenced to almost five years in prison for his role in a Congdon Park home invasion.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune, Lake County News Chronicle
A once-proud Duluth high school hockey captain shuffled out of a St. Louis County courtroom with his head bowed and tears in his eyes wearing a blue jail jump suit, handcuffs and leg irons after being sentenced to almost five years in prison for his role in a Congdon Park home invasion.
Ian Guzzo, 20, formerly of Two Harbors, was sentenced by Judge Shaun Floerke Wednesday to 57 months in prison after a St. Louis County jury in June found Guzzo guilty of aiding and abetting first-degree burglary. If he follows prison rules, he will be eligible for supervised release after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Guzzo drew a detailed map of the inside of the Terrance Hurley home that two other men broke into Aug. 30, 2007. While in the home, they threatened to kill Kelly Hurley and her 9-year-old son at gunpoint during a botched robbery attempt.
Before being sentenced, a sobbing Guzzo apologized to the Hurley family. He said drawing the map “was a huge mistake.’’ He said he never intended for the crime to happen, that he was sorry for the pain he had put the family through, and thanked them for what they did for him.
Kelly Hurley testified at trial that she welcomed Guzzo — a close friend and Marshall School hockey teammate of her son, William — to stay overnight with her family because she didn’t like the fact that he 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 and did his laundry.
David Schiller and Jonathon Phipps, both of Two Harbors, invaded the Hurley home and used plastic zip ties to bind the mother and her son, threatening to shoot them if they didn’t cooperate. Both defendants pleaded guilty to burglary and kidnapping. Schiller is serving a 9½-year prison sentence. Phipps was sentenced to 8¾ years.
Kelly Hurley read a victim’s impact statement to the court Wednesday. “My son — the one you played with, Ian — almost two years later still insists on sleeping with the lights on,’’ she said. “I still wake up screaming when my husband comes in the room when I’m sleeping. Our house is a fortress, lights on surrounding the property at all times, with doors and windows locked 24 hours a day, heavy-duty security and a guard dog. All this, Ian, because you chose not to warn us that you had drawn a map to help your friends rob us. Why?’’
The guideline sentence for the crime Guzzo was convicted of ranged between 41 months and 57 months in prison. Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer John Serre told the court that he was recommending 57 months because of the extreme seriousness of the crime, the fact that Guzzo didn’t warn the victim’s family, and Serre didn’t detect much remorse from the defendant.
Floerke told the parties that he has not seen a more cruel or impactful crime, especially with a 9-year-old victim.
“You were the one that was invited into the family,’’ Floerke told Guzzo before imposing sentence. “You were the one that betrayed that friendship.’’
The court also ordered Guzzo and his co-defendants to pay $22,124.06 in restitution to the Hurley family.
“It just points out how fortunate we are to live in a country where a system of justice and consequences are based on what people do and not on who they are,’’ said Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, who prosecuted the case. “This case and the ultimate sentence that was imposed is reflective of that principle.’’
Defense attorney William Paul declined comment after the sentencing, except to say he has referred the Guzzo family to a Twin Cities’ attorney and he expects the conviction to be appealed to the state Court of Appeals. He argued during the sentencing hearing that there was insufficient evidence to convict his client under the law.
Wendy Muermann, Guzzo’s mother, apologized to the Hurley family on behalf of the defendant’s family. She asked them to forgive her son. She said she had also opened her home to co-defendant Schiller and fed him and gave him a place to stay.
Craig Guzzo, the defendant’s father, blamed co-defendant Schiller for “crushing dreams and dreams on hold‘’ for his son, who had hoped to continue his hockey career. He said his son “allowed a manipulative, evil person to badger him into providing information we don’t even know was used.’’
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.