Defense for Brandon Bedford moves to dismiss, twice

Bedford is accused of murdering Gosiak by giving her an overdose of heroin 

By Tina Snell

Staff Writer

The defense team for Brandon Bedford made two motions on the third day of trial to dismiss the charges against their client. Gary Wolf and Holly Frame from Minneapolis moved to dismiss both counts against Bedford, one of third degree murder in the heroin death of Miranda Gosiak, 19, of Little Falls, and the other of third degree sale of narcotics.

“No jury will convict on the evidence,” he said.

Brandon Bedford
Brandon Bedford

Wolf said the defense opposed the state’s testimony that Brandon Bedford brought heroin to Little Falls and provided the fatal dose that killed Miranda Gosiak Feb. 28, 2012. Or that he actually sold heroin to Tanya Ashby or if Ashby just gave him the $20, but wouldn’t accept the drug.

Judge Conrad Freeberg denied the motion to dismiss both charges.

“On count one, Brandon Bedford did provide heroin to Miranda Gosiak and she did die of an overdose of heroin. On count two, evidence says he sold heroin (to his roommate Tanya Ashby). The elements have been met. The jury could find him guilty,” he said.

At the end of the day, Wolf again asked the judge to dismiss the charge of murder, citing the State vs. Carithers.

A certified question came before the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 1990 that when a married couple jointly acquires a Schedule I controlled substance, and one of the partners uses that substance and subsequently dies from a drug overdose, did the legislature intend that the surviving partner be subject to prosecution under Minnesota Statute 609.195(b)?

The Minnesota Court of Appeals deemed that statute as a special felony murder statute, declaring it murder in the third degree if one, without intent to kill, proximately causes the death of another person by furnishing — that is, “directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing or administering” — a schedule I or II controlled substance. Reversing the order of the district court, which granted defendants’ motions to dismiss, the court of appeals answered “yes” to the certified question, concluding that the statute plainly applies to the conduct described in the certified question.

Answering the certified question in the negative, the Minnesota State Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals in 1992.

“Based on Carithers, the third degree murder charge does not apply to a case as this,” said Wolf.

“If a husband and wife jointly obtain drugs and one dies, can the other be prosecuted. We need to prove ‘jointly,’ said Morrison County Assistant Attorney Amber Kusler. “Brandon Bedford did not obtain the drugs when he and Miranda were involved.”

Freeberg said he would make his ruling in the morning (Thursday) on the second motion to dismiss.

The first witness of the day was Ashby’s boyfriend, Christian Dahn, 32, who also lived at 508 Third St. N.E. with Bedford and Ashby. The prosecution ascertained that Gosiak was a guest at the home Feb. 27 – 28, 2012, that he knew Gosiak for several years and that he was using heroin in the beginning of 2012. He said he knew Gosiak had recently undergone treatment and was doing well.

Dahn went over the day of Feb. 27, 2012, when he, Asby and Bedford went to the Twin Cities to look for work.

Dahn said the three of them purchased heroin in North Minneapolis in an area, as he said, was flooded with it.

He said he purchased heroin regularly from “Bird,” using him because of the quality and price, and that day, he purchased three-1/2 gram bags at $70 each. There was one bag each for Ashby, Bedford and himself.

That directly contradicts Ashby’s testimony from the day before when she told the court that only Bedford and Dahn purchased the heroin.

Dahn told the court that they stopped at a gas station and all snorted some of their heroin. Ashby said the day before that she was sleeping and did not participate.

When Gosiak arrived at the home of Bedford, Ashby and Dahn, Dahn said she looked sober.

“I never shared prescription medications with her,” he said. “I didn’t have any and I wasn’t going to knock her off her path.”

Dahn told the court he never gave Gosiak heroin and had told the others in the house to not give her any, either.

Dahn went to bed early and did not know that Gosiak had used heroin that night. The next morning he said he saw her again about noon when she came down to use the bathroom.

“She told me that she and Bedford had begun dating. She looked good with no indications of drug use,” Dahn said. He said he did not see her use heroin that morning.

Dahn, like Ashby, had originally been charged with murder but had the charge dismissed. Dahn was given probation for 20 years and told to truthfully testify in court about the incidents on Feb. 27-28 and part of his plea agreement.

When Wolf cross-examined Dahn, it was learned the Gosiak had done drugs with him before she had gone to treatment. He admitted that time lines do get fuzzy when using heroin and was unsure about how long Bedford had lived with him and Ashby. He also said he would share his heroin with Ashby, a contradiction to Ashby’s testimony.

When asked by Wolf if he heard Bedford say to Ashby,  “I never should have given her that last line,” Dahn said “no,” even though at first he said he was present the entire time.

In Kosovich’s redirect, Dahn said he was not with Bedford every second of Feb. 28, 2012, contradicting himself.

“Was it possible that Ashby and Bedford talked and you didn’t hear,” said Kosovich. Dahn answered, “Yes.”

The second witness for the day was Brian Marquart, a supervisor with the drug task forces in Minnesota, employed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. A transcript of his interview with Bedford was played for the court and the time line, according to Bedford, was laid out.

During the first part of the interview, Bedford lied about the drug use and the purchasing of the heroin. He also told Marquart that he had tried heroin once, but got sicker than a dog and didn’t want to try it again. He also said he never gave anything to Gosiak because she was not using.

“I just drink and smoke weed,” he said.

When asked if he would test positive for heroin, he said “No.”

Bedford’s time line for the morning and afternoon of Feb. 28 had him finding Gosiak unresponsive at about 10:30 a.m., about four hours earlier than when it occurred.

In the interview, Bedford said he began CPR on Gosiak, again in contradiction to Ashby’s testimony. She said she was the only one to perform CPR since she was trained to do so.

When asked what Ashby was doing while he was performing CPR, Bedford said she was  shaking and slapping Gosiak, trying to awaken her. She then took over the CPR.

“I was scared and in shock,” Bedford said. “I just wanted to know what happened to her. She was fine this morning.”

Marquart told Bedford during the interview that heroin was found at the house. Bedford said he had heard that and hoped Gosiak wasn’t using it.

“She was by my side the whole time, except when she went downstairs,” Bedford said in the interview.

Marquart asked him if it was her intent to die or the intent of another for her to die. Bedford said “No.”

Pressed, Bedford finally admitted doing the heroin, but said he did not give it to Gosiak. In his next sentence, he admitted she did do a little bit.

“She saw what I had,” he said. “She told me she had relapsed.”

The heroin was snorted in the living room with Ashby present and participating, said Bedford. That’s also in contradiction to Ashby saying she couldn’t watch Gosiak do the heroin since she had just got out of rehab.

Ashby and Bedford, along with Waylon Beto in his testimony Tuesday, say she went to Beto’s home that evening and was gone about a half hour. Beto said she was retrieving some Narcotics Anonymous tags and that no drugs changed hands.

Bedford said he and Gosiak went upstairs after she returned, talked to about 3:30 a.m. and slept.

“When she got up, she was fine. When she returned, she kissed me and went back to bed. She told me she was sorry she took so long. We both slept some more,” said Bedford. “I don’t know if she used when she left that morning.”

He was awoken later by Gosiak’s snoring. That’s when he got up, when downstairs and allegedly said to Ashby, “I shouldn’t have given her that last line.”

Bedford said that what he said and what he meant was he shouldn’t have let her use any.

His next trip upstairs was when Gosiak was found unresponsive.

Bedford said the little bit of heroin he had left he sold to Ashby that morning, before finding Gosiak in return for $20. That is in contradiction to Ashby’s testimony of her saying no to the drugs, but giving him $20 to take Gosiak out for breakfast.

While Bedford said he didn’t use heroin the morning of Feb. 28, nor did he see or give Gosiak any, he did see Ashby do heroin.

Marquart told Bedford in the original interview Feb. 28, 2012, that the other two, Ashby and Dahn, were pointing their fingers at him. He responded that they must have given it to her when she went downstairs.

The final witness to testify was Bedford. He said it was hard hearing the interview again, it brought him back to that day.

“I was lying at first, but was honest at the end,” he said.

When asked by defense attorney Holly Frame why he lied, he said because he wanted to protect everyone and that he was scared.

“I didn’t think it was important, they were little lies,” he said. “I was scared for Christian and for Tanya. It happened so fast, I didn’t know what to do.”

When asked why anyone should believe the second half of the interview, he said he had nothing to hide.

“We (Ashby and Bedford) talked and decided not to tell Christian that Miranda had used the night before, that he would be pissed,” said Bedford in court.

Then, Bedford told Frame that Ashby had given me adivan, an anti-anxiety drug to give to Gosiak to relax her.

“That’s an important piece of information to leave out,” said Frame.

“I was in shock,” said Bedford.

In his cross examination, Kosovich brought up the inconsistencies in Bedford’s testimony.

“You said you gave the heroin to Tanya, then you later said you sold it to her. You didn’t add that she wouldn’t take it,” he said.

“That’s correct,” said Bedford.

“Your statement said your were Christian’s partner, but you weren’t,” said Kosovich. “You also lied about taking percocet.”

Bedford said he did.

“You said your didn’t use heroin for three or four years. You said you never gave or used with Miranda,” he said.

Frame agreed that Bedford had lied and that it took him 45 minutes to come out with the truth during the original interview.

“Is the second part of the interview true,” she asked.

“There are some lies,” Bedford said.

Thursday’s schedule includes Freeberg’s ruling on Wolf’s motion to dismiss the count of third degree murder, the closing arguments and the jury deliberation.