Appellate court upholds Blue Earth woman’s perjury conviction

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Blue Earth woman accused of lying about the whereabouts of her daughter’s then-boyfriend, who was later convicted of assaulting a high-school football teammate at a party,

In a decision filed by the appellate courts last week, Allison Ann Mastin, 38, was denied a reversal of her conviction of felony perjury and also her request for a new trial.

Court documents say Mastin lied under oath that Wyatt Tungland was at her house the night of a 2017 party in Winnebago, where a Blue Earth High School football player was assaulted by several teammmates.

Mastin argued that her conviction for perjury was based on insufficient evidence, but the court disagreed, saying Mastin “knowingly testified falsely at Tungland’s omnibus hearing when she claimed that he was at her house the night of the Winnebago party.”

The decision says Mastin consistently and unequivocally maintained that Tungland was at her house the night of the assault, even though Tungland immediately confessed to police he had been at the Winnebago party.

Mastin also told her neighbor, a police officer, that Tungland was at her home, but never reported it to police, despite the officer’s urging she do so.  She later testified at an omnibus hearing that she could not recall whether she’d spoken to the neighbor about the case, but also maintained that the neighbor had seen Tungland’s car at her home.

The appellate court determined that Mastin “knowingly testified falsely” at the omnibus hearing, thus affirming her conviction.

Mastin also argued the district court erred by permitting the Winnebago police chief to testify about the assault case’s publicity after a motion to exclude evidence from the case’s media coverage was granted.

The police chief testified that the case received more publicity than any he had previously encountered.  The appellate court ruled that that limited testimony was relevant and harmless to Mastin’s case, and had no significant impact on the jury’s verdict.

The appellate court also rejected Mastin’s argument that she was entitled to a new trial because the prosecutor failed to disclose Tungland’s that his brain was “mush” to the defense.

The appellate courts said Tungland’s statement was “likely hyperbole,” and that Tungland “appeared able to recall what was asked of him at trial.”  The court also cited Tungland’s guilty plea, and failure to disclose any memory problems.

Mastin was sentenced to 30 days in jail on the perjury charge in January 2020 and was ordered to complete probation and community service.

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