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A change of heart in BB gun window-shooting case

By Staff | Mar 31, 2008

Brian Roverud

Court hearings don’t always go as expected, and that was the case Thursday in Faribault County District Court.

County Attorney Brian Roverud had worked out a plea bargain with one of two persons charged in the BB gun pelting of several windows at the middle and elementary schools last December in Blue Earth.

Or, at least he thought he had an agreement.

Andrew Paul Holm, 17, of Winnebago showed up for his scheduled court trial and changed his mind.

“It was a done deal as of yesterday. I was surprised,” says Roverud.

Holm was originally charged with first-degree criminal damage to property and dangerous weapons on school property, both considered felonies.

However, Roverud was willing to reduce the charges to gross misdemeanor criminal damage to property and not have a trial.

“The damage was not as much as first estimated. Actual damage was around $750,” Roverud said, explaining his reasoning for the lesser charge.

School officials initially put the cost of repairing the four windows at more than $1,200.

Also charged in the incident is 17-year-old Caleb Lee Nowak of Blue Earth. He faces the same charges as Holm. According to a court complaint, the windows were damaged with a BB gun late Dec. 19 or the early morning hours of Dec. 20. One window had 11 shot marks, says the complaint.

Nowak admitted to friends and bragged that he and two other persons shot out some school windows, the complaint says.

Blue Earth authorities received some help in the case when Winnebago Police Chief Bob Toland was interviewing a Winnebago man in an unrelated case.The man told Toland that he heard Nowak and Holm talking about “some windows they had shot out.”

During the course of his investigation Blue Earth police officer Jake Ruppert was told that Nowak had said guns were purchased at Wal-Mart in Blue Earth.

Video cameras at the store show the man questioned by Toland buying several airsoft guns and a CO2 BB gun on Dec. 18, according to the complaint.

The man admitted to buying the BB gun and leaving it with Nowak.

Roverud says a court trial will have to be rescheduled for Holm on the gross misdemeanor and felony-level weapons charges.