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Squatter faces weapons charge

An Austin man who apparently was squatting at his deceased brother’s forfeited home also allegedly stored a number of weapons at the property, one of which led to a criminal charge Friday.

Mark Myrl Burrell, 54, faces one count of possessing a short-barreled shotgun, which is a felony. He appeared on the charge Monday and awaits arraignment on June 24 in Mower County court.

According to a criminal complaint, the Mower County auditor-treasurer went to the 204 South Main St. residence on June 10 because the home was being forfeited to the county due to unpaid taxes. While at the home, the auditor-treasurer thought he noticed someone inside what was supposed to be a vacant property, so he called law enforcement for backup.

A sheriff’s deputy later entered the home through a back door. Inside, the officer found thick piles of garbage and animal feces throughout the house, the complaint states. A dog was removed from the home by a community service officer.

In the living room, next to a large pile of waste, authorities found a cache of roughly 100 firearms, including assault rifles, shotguns and handguns. Some weapons had previously been reported stolen from the same residence, so officers decided to seize the guns and inventory them.

While this was going on, Burrell arrived home. He said the weapons belonged to him and that others had gone missing. One of the seized weapons, a .410 bore shotgun, was less than 26 inches long overall with a barrel shorter than 18 inches. Such a weapon is illegal to posses by Minnesota law.

It is unclear what Burrell’s intentions were with the weapons.

In addition to the firearm charge, Burrell also faces two counts of aggravated forgery for allegedly purporting to be his brother by signing several legal documents. According to records, Burrell’s brother, Steven Burrell, died on Jan. 17, 2010.

Mark Burrell is due back in court in that case on July 29. He is in custody on $25,000 bail.