Home invasion attempt

Couple terrified when man tries to break into their home late Friday

Andrea Johnson/MDN Marlene Erdman said a man tried to break into her home Friday evening and she was terrified and wasn’t sure what to do. She called 911.

A couple in their 80s were watching television in their southeast Minot residence late Friday evening when their peace was shattered by a man pounding on their front door.

“It was very, very frightening,” said Marlene Erdman.

There were four large windows at the front of the house that the man could have broken through when he was unsuccessful at getting through the front door.

“Fortunately, I had the drapes drawn. I think he was either drunk or on drugs or something and was disoriented and didn’t realize he could come in that way,” said Erdman.

The man then went around the back of the house, climbed on the deck, picked up an object and began trying to smash through the sliding glass door and glass windows.

Andrea Johnson/MDN The suspect broke windows and caused damage while trying to break in at the Willard and Marlene Erdman home in southeast Minot on Friday evening. The damage is pictured Monday. The amount of damage likely exceeds $5,000.

Meanwhile, Erdman and her husband, Willard, weren’t sure what they should do. Marlene Erdman said her mind was whirling and she was frightened and things were happening quickly. She has a handgun, but wasn’t sure what would happen if she used it or if she might get in trouble herself if she fired at the man trying to break into her house. She wasn’t sure if the situation warranted calling 911, but she also didn’t want to waste time looking up the number for the police station.

She decided to call 911 and report a break-in in progress, which turned out to be the right decision.

A police officer was just a few blocks away and quickly arrived at the residence. The Erdmans watched as the officer subdued the suspect on the deck of their house, handcuffed the man and took him to the Ward County Jail.

The suspect did at least $5,000 in damage and possibly more, according to the Erdmans’ son. Windows were broken and shattered glass is scattered on the ground at the residence.

The suspect, David Andrew Brainard, 28, appeared in district court in Minot on Monday, where he told the judge that he had blacked out during the incident.

“I do have an alcohol problem and I feel that I just made a really stupid mistake,” he told Judge Todd Cresap. “I got complacent and thought I could go out and blow off some steam and I can’t handle that.”

At Brainard’s suggestion, Cresap ordered him to pay 10 percent of a $1,500 bond and participate in the 24/7 Sobriety Program while he is out on bond. The judge also ordered Brainard to have no contact with the Erdmans and to stay 500 feet away from their residence. The state had asked for a $1,500 cash or corporate surety bond, citing Brainard’s past aggravated assault conviction, but Brainard said he was afraid he would lose his job at a local ranch if he failed to make bond. Brainard also said he had been on the 24/7 Sobriety Program before.

Brainard is charged with Class C felony criminal mischief and Class C felony resisting arrest. The state had also filed a Class C felony terrorizing charge against Brainard, but the state filed a motion to dismiss the terrorizing charge on Monday ,citing lack of evidence. Brainard was also charged with Class A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. A probable cause hearing in the case is scheduled for June 7.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court by Minot Police Officer Jay Bloyer, officers found Brainard sitting on the back porch when they arrived at the Erdman residence and he was mumbling something to himself. The officer ordered Brainard to get on his knees and put his hands on his head, which he did. Brainard had glass on his clothing and smelled strongly of alcohol and marijuana, according to Bloyer’s affidavit. Brainard admitted he did not live in the residence and did not know the residents. Bloyer wrote that he saw several pieces of broken furniture on the Erdmans’ deck. The large sliding window had been broken and there was glass on the deck. Other officers told him there was also a lot of damage to the front of the house, including a metal railing that had been torn off the front porch. The siding and shingles were also damaged.

The officers summoned an ambulance to check out Brainard. When they told him to stand up, Brainard pretended to be unable to walk. They hoisted him up and Brainard let his legs go limp. Bloyer wrote that the deck gave way under him and he fell through it to the ground while he was dragging Brainard. Brainard was on top of Bloyer. Bloyer wrote that Brainard then began “howling and rolled toward the hole in the deck” and that Brainard went limp.

Other officers then came and helped carry Brainard. They laid him on the grass in front of the house while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Brainard was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power and paramedics who assessed him said there was nothing wrong with him. Brainard later refused to take a breath test and refused to get out of the back of the ambulance to be taken to jail. Officers forcibly removed Brainard, who went limp and screamed that he could not breathe, and they had to drag him to the vehicle. Bloyer wrote that it took several minutes of struggling before they got him into the patrol vehicle. Officers took Brainard to Trinity Hospital. Bloyer spoke with staff and went to get a wheelchair. When he came back, he discovered that Brainard had vomited all over the back of the patrol vehicle and over himself. Brainard also resisted being removed from the back of the patrol vehicle.

Erdman said she and her husband were terrified during the incident. She said she told her story in hope that other crime victims will be aware of what they should do under those circumstances – to call the police.

Crime victims also have rights under the state’s Marsy’s Law. Among other things, they have a right to be notified of court proceedings for a suspect, to be heard in any court proceedings, including regarding the release of the defendant and regarding plea offers and sentencing. They also have the right to prevent disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass them or their families. They also have a right to restitution.