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Man from Belarus convicted in Oakwood burglary
Jurors reject defense argument that texts were 'dark Russian humor'
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When an Oakwood woman gave Dmitry Belousov shelter from the torrential downpour that hit South Hall County on May 19, 2013, she had already decided the fellow foreign national wasn’t a love interest, she said.

But what came in the next few weeks was described as an even starker contrast to the initial anticipation of a possible romance.

The Norcross man from Belarus was convicted of burglary with the intent to commit aggravated assault on Friday after a jury heard evidence of his increasingly aggressive advances toward Elena Tribounskaia.

The eventual criminal entry into her apartment was facilitated by a key he had made — without her permission — the morning of May 20, and that was the last instance his presence was condoned in her home, she said.

Belousov was sentenced to seven years in prison for terroristic threats and three counts of burglary with the intent to commit aggravated assault, aggravated battery and aggravated sexual battery by Senior Judge Martha Christian in connection with trespassing into the Oakwood home on June 5.

The jury deliberated for about five hours, and ultimately downgraded some of the burglary charges to the lesser-included charge of criminal trespass.

But jurors didn’t seem to buy the argument that descriptions of violence toward the victim were meant as a joke — dark Russian humor, as Belousov’s attorney, public defender Grace Akan, said — when examining text messages he sent the victim, including one that read, “I’m going to break your neck.”

“I’m scared of him. It’s very hard for me to talk about him right now,” Tribounskaia said, recalling the immediate aftermath of hearing the man was found in his underwear in a tampered-with home. “I was afraid to be in my house. I was feeling like I’m dying.”

Akan said bits of of the pair’s narrative were being presented by the state in the worst light possible to ramp the case up from a minor incident to a major felony.

“We agree it is kind of weird to just be in somebody’s house with their underwear on. But again, we’re putting all of this into context,” Akan said. “It’s the government who has the burden here to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dmitry went into Elena’s home with the intent to commit a theft, or a felony.”

The Oakwood Police Department investigated the case.