Expert says Guzzo's penmanship matches burglary map

A handwriting expert testified Wednesday that in his opinion a map of a Congdon Park home -- found in the possession of a burglar who led an invasion of the home -- was drawn by Ian Guzzo.

Hockey player sentenced
Ian Guzzo admitted that he drew a detailed map of a friend's home but testified Friday that he didn't believe David Schiller would really carry out the crime.

A handwriting expert testified Wednesday that in his opinion a map of a Congdon Park home -- found in the possession of a burglar who led an invasion of the home -- was drawn by Ian Guzzo.

Guzzo, 20, of Two Harbors, is on trial in St. Louis County District Court before Judge Shaun Floerke for allegedly aiding and abetting first-degree burglary in the Aug. 30, 2007, crime. During the home invasion, a mother and her 9-year-old son were threatened at gunpoint and their hands tied behind their backs.

The map included the locations of stairways, individual family members' bedrooms, furniture, exercise weights and a computer, as well as a drawing of a large arrow pointing to the family safe.

Shawn Gallagher, forensic document examiner for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, compared known samples of Guzzo's handwriting to the map of the Hurley family home to conclude that Guzzo drew the map found among the belongings of David Schiller.

Schiller is serving a 9½-year prison sentence and Jonathon Phipps is serving a 8¾-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to burglarizing the home.


Gallagher testified that he microscopically analyzed Guzzo's handwriting. He explained to jurors that Guzzo dots his I's high and to the right, makes his O's by starting and ending at the 1 o'clock position, makes small A's with a long tail and writes his small H's in a way the expert has never before seen; the letter drawn with his first stroke starting from the bottom and moving up.

Under questioning by St. Louis County prosecutor Mark Rubin, Duluth police Officer Mike Peterson testified that Guzzo was sobbing and his tears were falling on a desktop when he provided the court-ordered handwriting sample for BCA analysis.

Defense attorney William Paul countered in his questioning of police that his client's tears were a result of feeling sorry for what happened to the family to whom he had been close and now is accused of betraying. Paul also suggested that Guzzo was crestfallen because Schiller was a former friend whom he grew up with and that his sadness had nothing to do with anything he did to the family that befriended him.

William Hurley, 19, a student at the University of North Dakota, testified that he was a Marshall School hockey teammate of Guzzo during the 2006-07 school year and he invited Guzzo to stay at his home whenever Guzzo wanted to so that he wouldn't have to drive all the way to Two Harbors.

Jurors watched a video of Brian Hurley, who was 9 years old at the time of the home invasion, explain to Duluth police Officer Tony Radloff how he and his mother were terrorized by Schiller and Phipps. The boy appeared bright and observant, and Radloff called him "brave.''

The boy gave a detailed descriptions of how the man who tied him up was dressed and what his gun looked like. He said the burglar had a cowboy mask across his face and a

cowboy-type silver gun with a wooden handle. He said the burglars told his mother that they would kill him if she didn't tell them what they wanted to hear.

After the prosecution rested its case and the jury was excused for the day, Paul cited a lack of evidence against his client and made a standard defense motion for the court to take the matter out of the jury's hands and order a judgment of acquittal.


Paul argued that the introduction of the map drawn by Guzzo into evidence had no context and that there was no proof that Schiller and Phipps used it. He said there was no evidence that his client had advance knowledge of the home invasion or that he did anything to aid and abet it. He said Guzzo was a victim of "guilt by association.''

Rubin countered that it was a case of Guzzo betraying the family that befriended him. He said that if Guzzo hadn't drawn the map and provided other information to Schiller, who he knew was a burglar, the crime wouldn't have been committed. He said the defendant threw his friend's family "under the bus.''

Judge Shaun Floerke took Paul's arguments under advisement. He said he would issue his decision this morning at 8 a.m.

The trial took an unusual twist during the noon hour Wednesday. The 14-member jury, which included two alternates, lost one from its ranks. The court received a report that one of the jurors was drinking alcohol during the lunch recess. Rubin and Paul met with Floerke in chambers and the judge called the male juror in for questioning. The man told Floerke that he had one beer at lunch. Both attorneys suggested that it would be appropriate to dismiss the juror, and that's what Floerke did.

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