Ex-Gopher pleads not guilty to robbery

Kevin Behr

On Nov. 21, 2006, University police arrested Shane Schilling for robbery following an incident that happened just outside the police station.

Two and a half months later, on Feb. 7, Schilling, a former Gopher men’s basketball player, entered a not-guilty plea for felony simple robbery, according to court documents.

Schilling will stand trial for the crime March 26.

But robbery is not the only felony charge he faces.

Just a week before allegedly attempting to steal a backpack from a University student, police in Orono, Minn., arrested Schilling for two more felonies: auto theft and receiving stolen property, according to the court complaint.

In that incident, documents say Schilling told police he was walking to the Twin Cities after being released from Prairie Psychiatric Center in Fargo, N.D., on Nov. 14. Police then gave him a ride to the border of Clay and Becker counties in northwestern Minnesota.

Three days later, police found Schilling with a Ford F150 in Orono with license plates belonging to a Ford Taurus. Police checked the VIN number on the truck and discovered it to be stolen, documents said.

Schilling later admitted he knew the vehicle was stolen and was arrested for auto theft.

Police didn’t take him into custody, though. Schilling made his way to the University area and attacked a student on Washington Avenue Southeast.

Just one week after first coming into contact with police, Schilling was arrested for the robbery.

Schilling spent the Thanksgiving weekend in jail and has appeared in court numerous times in the past two months.

One of those appearances determined whether he was fit to stand trial.

Assistant Hennepin County attorney Stuart Shapiro said the request was made based on contact with the defendant or concerns over past records.

He said he did not know exactly why the request was made, but Schilling’s mention of the Prairie Psychiatric Center is a likely cause for concern, Shapiro said.

Whether Schilling actually stayed at the center is unclear. Federal law prohibits the center from disclosing any patient information.

Ultimately, Schilling was deemed competent to stand trial.

Shapiro said Schilling was likely offered a plea agreement by the state in the robbery case, but the offer was refused and is no longer on the table.

As a result, if convicted, Schilling faces up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, Shapiro said. But the judge has the ability to sentence inside or outside those guidelines. It all depends on how the auto theft and stolen property cases pan out, he said.

The March 26 date signals the beginning of Schilling’s trial and will include the auto theft and stolen property cases.

“They were tagged onto my case,” Shapiro said. He said they will be tried separately, but done on the same day per the judge’s order to get everything on Schilling done at once.

Shapiro is only at liberty to discuss the robbery case because another prosecutor was assigned to the other two.

Calls to that attorney’s office were not returned.

Schilling’s public defender could not be reached for comment.

The University athletics department declined to comment.