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Irlas gets 7-plus years; New sentence came after appeal reversal

D. Irlas

An Austin man whose 2014 conviction was reversed by the state’s appellate court is heading back to prison, but he’ll be serving a shorter sentence.

Daniel Irlas, 37, was sentenced Thursday in Mower County District Court to 88 months — or about seven years and four months — in prison for felony first-degree burglary for stabbing a 51-year-old man in the 1000 block of Fifth Street Northeast on Dec. 26, 2014.

In 2015, Daniel was sentenced to 10 years in prison for felony first-degree burglary/assault with a dangerous weapon, and a concurrent 45 months for felony second-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon.

But the Minnesota Court of Appeals in December reversed his conviction and remanded the case back to Mower County District Court for a new trial.

The appellate court found that Daniel had his rights violated under the confrontation clause after a witness invoked the Fifth Amendment during his trial.

He pleaded guilty last month as part of a plea agreement for a felony first-degree burglary charge. He received credit for 862 days served.

According to the court complaint, the victim stepped into a fight Daniel had with his girlfriend in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2014, at a friend’s house because the victim didn’t like Daniel getting physical with a woman. Daniel later told police he went to the home to collect $400 from the friend, and took a dog and a small lock box as payment.

Daniel allegedly stole an iPod and a speaker and punched the victim.

Daniel allegedly then went to the home where the victim was at about 4:45 a.m. on the 26th. When the victim answered the door, Daniel and two unidentified men assaulted and stabbed him, according to two witnesses at the home who went to get help.

Police determined that one of his companions was Ernesto Angel Salinas of Austin. According to the complaint, Salinas’ mother, after talking to detectives, alleged the third suspect was Willie James Britten III and claimed he was with Daniel and Salinas at the time of the assault.

The victim suffered a broken nose, two stab wounds to the torso, including one that pierced his diaphragm and a contusion on his left ear.

Salinas eventually entered a guilty plea on reduced charges, with the understanding he would testify at Daniel’s trial. His testimony during the guilty plea implicated both Daniel and Britten as having participated in the assault.

The court agreed with Daniel’s defense who argued that since Ernesto Salinas had invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege and when it was paired with Salinas’ absence from court when his plea transcript was entered as evidence, the confrontation clause was violated. That clause assures a defendant a chance to face his accuser in court.

His brother, Juan Irlas, 44, was sentenced last month in Mower County District Court to a stayed prison term of 15 months, which means he’ll serve three years of probation as long as he follows 22 conditions.

He pleaded guilty last year to felony aiding an offender as part of a plea agreement after originally facing two more felony charges of aiding and abetting during a burglary — one for possessing a weapon and one for assaulting someone in the building.