Congdon burglary suspects ordered to submit handwriting samples

The three men accused of being involved in a Congdon Park home invasion burglary last summer were ordered by the court today to submit handwriting samples to Duluth police.

The three men accused of being involved in a Congdon Park home invasion burglary last summer were ordered by the court today to submit handwriting samples to Duluth police.

A detailed hand-drawn map of the inside of the victims' residence was recovered from one of the defendants. The prosecution wants to compare the writing on the map with the defendants' handwriting to bolster its case.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Shaun Floerke granted St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin's motion that defendants David Earl Schiller, Jonathan Gary Phipps and Ian Robert Guzzo, all 19 years old and from Two Harbors, provide the handwriting samples over the objections of two of the three defense attorneys involved in the case.

Schiller and Phipps are each charged with first-degree burglary and two counts of kidnapping. Guzzo is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree burglary.

Schiller and Phipps are accused of breaking into the residence during the morning of Aug. 30 and binding a mother and her 9-year-old son at gunpoint while they searched the house for money. The prosecution believes Guzzo drew the map. He was a Duluth Marshall hockey teammate of a member of the victims' family last year and often spent the night at the residence during the hockey season.


The hand-drawn map includes the location of the house, roads near it, detailed drawings of each floor of the house, the location of furniture, televisions, computer, a safe, the direction of stairs, what each room was used for and what else it contained. One page of the map includes the names of all residents of the home, ages of the four children and what vehicles the family drives.

Public defender Cynthia Evenson is representing Schiller. Evenson didn't oppose her client providing handwriting samples. She requested that she be present at the time they are taken.

Public defender Kevin Cornwell is representing Phipps. Cornwell opposed Rubin's motion. He said there is nothing in the evidence produced thus far that indicated that his client took part in the drawing of a map. He, too, requested that he be present when the sample is taken.

Defense attorney William Paul represents Guzzo. Paul argued that the map wasn't part of the initial 169 pages of reports submitted by Duluth police and neither the map nor his client's handwriting should be allowed into evidence now after an earlier hearing on probable cause was already held.

Floerke pointed out to Paul that the court had given Rubin a deadline to provide the court his answer to the argument Paul made at the earlier hearing and Rubin met that deadline.

Floerke then granted Rubin's motion that the handwriting samples be ordered based on Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure that the samples "will be of material aid in determining whether the defendant(s) committed the offense(s) charged.''

Paul argued last month that the case be dismissed because he said the state hasn't provided sufficient evidence that his client aided and abetted the burglary. Floerke hasn't yet ruled on that motion.

Schiller is being held in the St. Louis County Jail on $200,000 bail. Phipps is free after posting a $200,000 bond. Guzzo is free on $50,000 bail.

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