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Appeals court upholds conviction of man, 21, serving time for burglarizing Montevideo, Minn., home

MONTEVIDEO — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man serving a prison sentence for burglarizing a Montevideo home while its occupant was asleep.

In an order filed Monday, the court upheld the first-degree burglary conviction of Jordan Lee Downwind, 21, formerly of Montevideo and Red Lake. He is currently at the Moose Lake Correctional Facility serving combined sentences of 79 months for separate offenses.

Downwind was convicted in November 2010 for a burglary on the night of July 27-28.

Two laptop computers, a wallet and $700 in cash, other electronic devices and DVDS, along with a photo of the victim and his spouse, were taken.

Their loss was discovered by the occupant when he woke up in the morning. The Montevideo Police Department la-ter re- covered the items at a residence where Downwind was staying.  

One of the stolen computers also contained Facebook messages to Downwind, including one from his mother urging him to go immediately to the Red Lake reservation.

Downwind was a suspect in the home burglary, as well as a rash of 19 different home burglaries and break-ins to parked vehicles reported during a 2½-month span in Montevideo.  

His mother later testified that her son had spent the summer on the reservation and was not in Montevideo when the burglary occurred. Another witness testified that he had received stolen goods from the defendant.

District Judge Randall Slieter rejected the mother’s testimony as not credible, and found the Downwind guilty based on the materials recovered at the residence and the testimony of the witness who had received stolen goods.

In his appeal, Downwind argued that he had not committed the burglary and had “merely took possession of some of the stolen items after the burglary.’’

In its order, the Court of Appeals stated that it would be “mere conjecture’’ to adopt Downwind’s argument of innocence, and that it does not provide a basis to reverse a verdict. The court also stated that because the district court “acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude that Downwind was guilty of first-degree burglary, we will not disturb the verdict.’’

Downwind’s expected release from prison is June 12, 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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