Duluth murder suspect, accused in student's slaying, wants case dismissed
DULUTH — A second defendant in the slaying of a Duluth college student is seeking to have his case dismissed, while three others want further access to the grand jury proceedings that resulted in first-degree murder indictments.
Four of the five defendants charged in connection with the Feb. 14 fatal shooting of 22-year-old WIlliam Grahek appeared in state district court on Monday, Nov. 20.
An attorney for Xavier Alfred Haywood, who allegedly provided information that led to a botched robbery-turned-shooting of Grahek, asked 6th Judicial District Judge Mark Munger to dismiss his client's charge for a lack of probable cause.
Haywood, 27, who also is accused of arranging a hotel room to harbor his co-defendants after the homicide, faces a felony count of aiding an offender to avoid arrest.
His attorney, Tracy Eichhorn-Hicks, did not elaborate on his motion and said he did not intend to submit any written arguments. He asked the judge to rule based on reports and other evidence submitted to the court.
Munger indicated that he would likely issue a ruling around the end of the year.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the three defendants facing first-degree murder charges said they would file motions seeking additional information about the grand jury process.
Deandre Demetrius Davenport, 22; Noah Anthony Charles King, 19; and Noah Duane Baker, 20, face potential life sentences after being indicted in August. In Minnesota, first-degree murder charges can only be brought by a grand jury, which meets in secret and without the presence of the defense.
Munger previously ordered the release of transcripts for testimonial phases of the proceedings. But defense attorneys said Monday that they would seek access to the remaining portions, which could include instructions and other comments from prosecutors.
The judge asked for written arguments on the issue to be submitted in the coming weeks. Defense attorneys may file motions challenging probable cause, constitutional issues or the grand jury process after the judge rules on their transcript request.
Kassius Benson, an attorney for alleged shooter Davenport, told the court that he anticipates filing a motion seeking dismissal of the grand jury indictment.
Prosecutors allege that Davenport, King and Baker entered Grahek's home around 2 p.m. Feb. 14 with the intent of robbing him of drugs and cash. The University of Minnesota Duluth student was shot twice when he refused to comply with their demands, according to court documents.
A fifth defendant, 23-year-old Tara Rai Baker, is also charged in the case. She is accused of dropping off her brother, Noah Baker, and boyfriend, Davenport, at King's house shortly before the shooting, and then serving as a getaway driver for all three.
Attorneys for Tara Baker have filed a motion seeking dismissal of her charges of aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder and attempted first-degree aggravated robbery. They argue that there is no evidence to support the allegation that she was driving the vehicle or even knew about the homicide until several hours after the fact.
Prosecutors have until Dec. 11 to file a brief in opposition to that motion before Munger issues a ruling.