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Rochester man gets assault conviction overturned

Erik Narveson Erik Narveson

Guilty verdicts for criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment are upheld.

Posted: Jul. 9, 2018 1:39 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Rochester man convicted of criminal sexual conduct has won a partial victory at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Erik Walden Narveson, 44, was arrested in April 2015 and charged with 1st and 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct, 3rd degree assault, and false imprisonment. Authorities say Narveson sexually assaulted a woman in April 2015, punched her in the face after she grabbed a knife, then tied her up in the basement and stuffed a sock into her mouth.

At trial, Narveson was found not guilty of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct but convicted on the other charges. He was sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison, with credit for 715 days already served.

Narveson filed an appeal that argued a biased juror should have been excluded from his trial, his assault conviction should be reversed because he was not allowed to argue self-defense, and that he should not have been charged with assault and false imprisonment as separate crimes because they were part of the same incident as the criminal sexual conduct.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected Narveson’s claim about a biased juror, stating that even though the juror in question admitted his wife and a friend had been victims of sexual assault, the trial judge appropriately decided the juror could be impartial in Narveson’s case.

However, the Court agreed with Narveson that he should have been allowed to argue self-defense on the assault charge because the victim was holding a knife when Narveson punched her and he planned to testify she had stabbed him in the hand in the past. As such, Narveson’s conviction for 3rd degree assault is overturned.

The Court also ruled that since there was a lengthy amount of time between Narveson sexual assaulting the woman and the incidents of assault and false imprisonment, it was correct that he be charged with them as separate crimes.

Narveson could be tried again for 3rd degree assault but he would be allowed to argue self-defense if that happens. The reversal of that conviction does not affect the length of his prison sentence.

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