A Granite Falls man, Jeremy Louis Burrell, 41, has been found guilty of burglary and theft by a Redwood County jury after he was caught in the home of a victim who had died the day before.

According to the criminal complaint, evidence, and testimony at trial, on Feb. 26,  2021, at about 8 a.m., law enforcement received a call from a reporting party who stated Burrell was inside the victim’s residence in Lamberton. Officers were aware the victim was deceased — the previous day, Feb. 25, they had responded to the residence for a  welfare check and found the victim deceased. Before leaving the residence on  Feb. 25, officers blocked off the entrances of the residence with evidence tape.  

When officers arrived at the residence on the morning of Feb. 26, they noted a broken basement  window and a Black and Decker cordless drill lying in the bushes by the broken window. When they entered the residence, they found Burrell with two pliers, one vise  grip, and a small black cordless saw in his pockets. 

First, Burrell claimed the reporting party had given him permission to be in the residence. Later he changed his story and stated he lived in the residence and had a key. Law enforcement  questioned him about the visible evidence tape. Burrell denied ever going past any evidence tape.  

The family of the deceased later went into the residence to gather clothing for the  funeral and discovered many drawers were opened throughout the residence  that had not previously been opened, and that some of the deceased victim’s jewelry was missing.  Officers found the deceased victim’s missing jewelry in Burrell’s property at the Redwood County Jail. Burrell was wearing the jewelry when he was booked into jail.  

Last week a jury found Burrell guilty of one count of Burglary in the Second Degree, one count of Possession Burglary Tools,  one of Criminal Damage to Property in the Third Degree, and one count of Theft, County  Attorney Jenna Peterson announced Thursday.  

Tom Borgen Assistant Redwood County Attorney, who prosecuted the case, told the jury  in his closing argument, “If he [Burrell] felt he had a right to be in the residence he would not  have brought tools to access the residence, would not have tried to unscrew a window, and would  not have broken another window to get in,” and, “If he was in fact holding onto the property to  protect it for the decedent’s family, he passed up many opportunities to tell law enforcement or  the jail that he was doing so. He only stated he was holding onto the property to protect it after  an officer confronted him with the deceased Victim’s jewelry jail staff found on him.”  

Burrell will be sentenced on Feb. 27, at the Redwood County Courthouse.