Minn. High Court Affirms Freeborn County Murder Conviction

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: criminal law, murder, domestic abuse.

Chad Jamie Gulbertson v. State of Minnesota. MN criminal law, murder, domestic abuse

Chad Jamie Gulbertson was convicted in Freeborn County for the 2009 murder of his former girlfriend, Jody Morrow. He was convicted of first-degree murder because the jury found that the murder was part of a pattern of abuse. He argued that there was insufficient evidence of a pattern of domestic abuse. The trial court heard the evidence and denied the petition. Gilbertson then appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence to show a pattern of abuse. The Court described the volatile relationship, which included frequent fights. One witness reported that the defendant shoved the victim, said he was going to get her, and threaten to cut her head off with a sword. Police were called frequently, and there had been an order for protection. The court carefully considered the evidence and concluded that it supported the jury's finding of a pattern of abuse.

The court also held that the jury had been instructed properly, and that there had been no error in admitting evidence of the order for protection.

For these reasons, the Supreme Court affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief.

No. A13-0901 (Minn. Mar. 5, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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