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Lake Lillian, Minn., man gets drug conviction remanded to district court

WILLMAR -- Curtis Dean Erickson, 50, of Lake Lillian, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday to 13 months in prison on two felony charges of fifth-degree controlled substance and for storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child.

However, because Erickson had already served 529 days in custody, District Judge Michael J. Thompson ordered that the court file be closed.

Thompson also waived the fines, fees and surcharges in the case.

Erickson was originally convicted for drug possession and for storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child in April 2011 in jury trial in Kandiyohi County District Court. In May 2011, he was sentenced to 58 months in prison on a second-degree drug possession charge for 9.6 grams of meth found in his home by CEEVI Drug Task Force agents in February 2010.

In July of this year, the State Appeals Court reversed Erickson's conviction and remanded the case back to district court, finding that the judge had violated Erickson's constitutional right to a complete defense by excluding Erickson's proffered evidence. Specifically, Thompson ruled that Erickson could testify to his belief that the methamphetamine was planted in his home by a person who had opportunity and motive to put drugs there, but that other witnesses would not be allowed to testify to the theory that Erickson was framed with the drug placement.

Erickson and Jennifer Wendt, 38, of Willmar, were charged after CEEVI Drug Task Force agents and Kandiyohi County Sheriff's deputies searched their home along Oakdale Avenue in Lake Lillian on Feb. 10, 2010.

Wendt, Erickson and another man were located in the home, along with two children, ages 9 years and 5 months. The search revealed plastic bags filled with meth and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

Some of the paraphernalia was stored in the bedroom where the children slept. Wendt pleaded guilty to a drug paraphernalia charge and was sentenced to five years of probation, a $750 fine and chemical dependency treatment.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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