Suspects arraigned in UMD student's slaying

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DULUTH, Minn. — Three defendants were arraigned Tuesday, Aug. 29, on first-degree murder charges in the February shooting death of Duluth college student William Grahek.

Deandre Demetrius Davenport, 21; Noah Duane Baker, 20; and Noah Anthony Charles King, 19, all made initial appearances before Judge Mark Munger in State District Court in Duluth.

A St. Louis County grand jury on Thursday indicted each of the three defendants on two counts of first-degree murder, alleging they caused Grahek's death while committing robbery and burglary. The new charges carry mandatory life sentences, if convicted.

None of the defendants spoke when appearing before Munger, and their attorneys waived formal readings of the indictments. The judge kept bail at $1 million for each defendant.

Grahek, a 22-year-old University of Minnesota Duluth student and the son of a St. Paul police sergeant, was shot twice inside his East Hillside residence, 510 E. 11th St., on Feb. 14 during what authorities have described as an attempted robbery of drugs and cash.

Investigators have said Davenport, King and Baker walked to Grahek's house from King's residence at 513 E. 10th St. — just across an alley. They allegedly left from the rear of King's house, wearing dark clothing and armed with a Glock 9 mm handgun, and entered the lower level of Grahek's house.

Authorities said Grahek's roommates upstairs heard yelling and the words "get down on the ground" just prior to hearing gunshots. The witnesses told police that Grahek refused and was shot by Davenport, according to criminal complaints filed in March.

The three defendants already were facing intentional second-degree murder and attempted first-degree aggravated robbery charges at the time of the indictment. Under Minnesota law, first-degree murder charges can only be brought by a grand jury, which meets in secret.

Munger on Tuesday said transcripts of grand jury testimony would be turned over to defense attorneys within 60 days, allowing them an opportunity to identify any potential challenges before the defendants are back in court on Nov. 20.

A fourth defendant — accused getaway driver Tara Rai Baker — also appeared in court Tuesday. Munger denied a request to reduce the $250,000 bail set for the 20-year-old Baker, who is the sister of Noah Baker and the girlfriend of Davenport.

Her attorney, Sonia Sturdevant, said she would raise a "very serious challenge" to probable cause, seeking dismissal of her client's charges of aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder and attempted first-degree aggravated robbery.

Munger ordered attorneys to submit written briefs on the issue; a decision is not expected until at least December.

The only defendant not in court Tuesday was 26-year-old Xavier Alfred Haywood, who is accused of planning the attempted robbery of Grahek and harboring the four co-defendants after it was botched.

\Haywood, who is charged with aiding an offender to avoid arrest, is due back in court on Sept. 20.