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Appeals court upholds Wadena County jury's guilty decision

The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected a Sebeka woman's argument that a Wadena County jury erred when it found her guilty of first- and second-degree assault in a stabbing case.

Christy Lynn Schilling was sentenced to 90 months in prison on Dec. 31, 2009, for stabbing her ex-husband, Eric Dewitt, at about 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, at 30626 135th Ave., Sebeka. The incident escalated from an argument during a child exchange for court-ordered visitation.

Schilling claimed that prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she assaulted Dewitt and that the evidence was insufficient to convict her. She testified in her trial that Dewitt had hit her and she didn't remember seeing or using a knife, but she could only remember "bits and pieces" after being hit. She claimed to the court that Dewitt's severe lacerations were self-inflicted.

In a ruling filed March 16, the appeals court rejected Schilling's arguments.

"Ultimately, the jury considered the conflicting accounts of the events and rejected Schilling's version," the court wrote. "It was the jury's prerogative to reject Schilling's account, as the fact finder 'has no obligation to believe a defendant's story.'"

The court upheld Judge Jay Carlson's sentence in the case, which he said in the hearing was influenced by the children witnessing the violence.

"The court does have some concern for the viciousness of the attack and the impact on the children," Carlson said.