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Hendricks man sentenced to prison for bringing AR-15 rifle to armed burglary

Lien

WORTHINGTON — A 22-year-old will spend nearly two years in prison for threatening individuals with a gun during a December 2017 armed burglary in Worthington over what a judge said was motivated by marijuana.

Justin Lien of Hendricks was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison after being convicted of felony first-degree burglary. Lien was one of five individuals who traveled from the Granite Falls area to Worthington to visit a Fox Farm Road home where a selection of the vehicle’s occupants had purchased marijuana the week prior and felt they’d been overcharged for the quantity they’d received. As part of the plea agreement, five other charges were dismissed.

Nobles County Assistant Attorney Adam Johnson said the state struggles any time a young man is sent to prison, but he felt it appropriate given what he considered a “brual offense.”

“This could have gone much worse given the presence of violence that night,” he said.

Lien’s defense attorney, Aaron Kinser, said Lien didn’t dispute the seriousness of the offense. He said Lien was anxious to admit guilt and be able to move forward.

Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore cited that a probation assessment showed Lien may have mental health and chemical use issues and a stressful childhood.

Moore said sentencing a 22-year-old to prison was a shame, but that it was merited.

“We’re fortunate that we’re not dealing with a homicide,” he said.