Woman enters modified guilty plea in case of missing ring

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

Geraldine Magda admitted in court Friday to taking a wedding ring from the hand of her dying sister on New Year’s Day in Austin.

Magda, a 44-year-old from Mapleview, however, said she took the ring while alone with her dying sister to have a memento to keep her sister in her thoughts and prayers.

"I was going to give it back after she was gone," Magda said, adding that she never wanted the ring or intended to leave Comforcare nursing home with it.


"I only wanted to keep her alive," she said.

Eventually, Magda, after speaking again with her attorney Julie Maxwell, agreed to enter an Alford guilty plea to a single felony count of theft, acknowledging that a jury likely would determine that Magda intended to keep the ring.

Attorneys are recommending the judge delay the imposition of any potential prison term against Magda during her probation.

Magda, who’s free on bail, is set for sentencing July 10.

Under questioning from her attorney, Magda admitted visiting her dying sister Jan. 1 at Comforcare and removing the estimated $2,500 ring with diamonds from one of her sister’s fingers. Magda admitted she didn’t have permission from anyone to take the ring.

Magda, under questioning from prosecutor Eric Herendeen, admitted she put the ring inside a pill container and placed it in her purse at Comforcare.

Judge Fred Wellmann said it appeared Magda was trying to hide the ring by placing it inside the container. He asked Magda if she intended to hide it.

Yes and no, Magda replied, saying she didn’t know why she put the ring in the container. Magda then said she didn’t want it to get lost in her purse.


Magda said a psychiatrist told her she was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, police went for a theft report Jan. 1 at Comforcare.

Family members told an officer they noticed that a wedding ring no longer was on the finger of their 58-year-old female relative, who was terminally ill and likely only had a few hours to live, the complaint says.

Two of them said they saw the ring on the dying woman’s finger earlier that day but it was missing after another relative, Magda, visited her.

When interviewed by police, Magda said she had sat next to her sister’s bed and held her left hand, the complaint says. Magda denied taking the ring and allowed police to search her purse.

An officer found the stolen ring inside the pill container in Magda’s purse, the complaint says. Magda allegedly told police she didn’t know how the ring ended up there.

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