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Woman pleads guilty for role in rural Lake Lillian burglary

WILLMAR -- Dawn Jean Meyer, 34, of Kerkhoven, pleaded guilty Tuesday to an amended felony charge of second-degree burglary and a felony for receiving stolen property for her role in the June burglary of a rural Lake Lillian home.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, Meyer entered an Alford plea to the charges and agreed to pay restitution of $6,033. She shares the restitution obligation with three others who were charged in the June 11 incident. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is likely strong enough evidence for a jury to convict a person of the crime.

Meyer will be sentenced May 29. She had faced eight felony charges of burglary, theft and liability for crimes of another and had been scheduled for a two-day jury trial. Meyer was one of four people charged in the incident. Destinee Nicole Abrego, 21, of Willmar, was sentenced Feb. 17 to 18 months in prison, which was stayed, 10 years of probation and 180 days in jail. Andrei Kevin Russell, 23, of Moorhead, formerly of St. Cloud, has pleaded guilty to an amended second-degree burglary charge and a felony for theft. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for his sentencing hearing on Feb. 27.

Juanel Anthony Mikulak, 20, of Kerkhoven, was sentenced Dec. 8 to 15 months in prison, which was stayed, five years of probation, a $50 fine and $150 in restitution on a felony charge of receiving stolen property. Ten felony charges against Mikulak were dismissed Sept. 15 by Judge Michael J. Thompson for lack of probable cause.

The charges were filed after Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called June 11 to a rural Lake Lillian home. The residents reported the home had been burglarized while they were at work. Several rooms were ransacked and a stereo, video game and game cartridges, a computer, four long guns, a handgun, five knives, a sewing machine, and a jar of coins and bills were missing. Pry marks were found on the back door and tire tracks appeared to have been left by a suspect vehicle.

The homeowners suspected Meyer of the burglary. She is the ex-girlfriend of the now-deceased brother of one of the homeowners. Meyer and the homeowner had previously argued over a jar of change missing from the home and $10 that Meyer borrowed from the homeowner's son. According to the complaint, Meyer called relatives of one of the homeowners to repay the $10. During the conversation, she asked if the homeowners were working. The owners were later informed of the call and returned home to find their home burglarized.

Following a five-week investigation, officers executed a search warrant at Meyer's residence. There, they recovered a binocular set, three DVDs and five PlayStation II games reported stolen from the Lake Lillian home. Police also determined that Mikulak also lived at the Kerkhoven residence. Other items stolen during the burglary were recovered at a Willmar apartment where Russell and Abrego lived.

The complaint states that the PlayStation II system, 12 games and a CD stereo system were pawned June 13 and that the items were recovered July 2 at a St. Cloud pawn shop.