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3 indicted on first-degree murder charges in UMD student’s death

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Tom Olsen

Three defendants have been indicted on first-degree murder charges in the February slaying of a Duluth college student.

A St. Louis County grand jury on Thursday returned the indictments against Deandre Demetrius Davenport, 21; Noah Duane Baker, 20; and Noah Anthony Charles King, 19.

The three already were among five suspects charged in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old William Andrew Grahek. But the trio will now be facing mandatory life sentences, if convicted.

The indictment charges each defendant with two counts of first-degree murder. The new charges accuse them of causing Grahek's death while committing aggravated robbery and burglary.

In Minnesota, only a grand jury can bring first-degree murder charges.

Grahek, a 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.

Two other defendants were not suspected of entering the house and were not included in the indictment.

Xavier Alfred Haywood, 26, is accused of instructing Davenport, King and Noah Baker to rob Grahek, who he knew to have "large amounts of cash and controlled substances" in a safe inside his house, and harboring them after the heist was botched. He is charged with aiding an offender to avoid arrest.

Tara Rai Baker, 23, the sister of Noah Baker and the girlfriend of Davenport, is accused of being a getaway driver. She is charged with aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder and attempted first-degree aggravated robbery.

Police said they obtained surveillance video showing Tara Baker's Jeep driving past King's residence shortly before 1:30 p.m. on the day of the shooting. A short time later, two people could be seen walking west toward King's house.

Investigators determined that the shooting happened between 1:53 and 2 p.m. The Jeep could be seen moving at a "high rate of speed" down the 700 block of East Ninth Street, about two blocks from the homicide scene, just one minute after the shooting was reported to 911, according to the charges.

Authorities said the suspects apparently changed clothes sometime before the Jeep was again captured on video at a gas station across the street from King's house at 2:26 p.m. The video reportedly shows King leaving the Jeep and going into the store, and then walking back to his house.

Investigators said they also obtained photos of Davenport holding what appears to be a Glock 9 mm handgun taken approximately a week before the shooting.

While fleeing the scene, Davenport reportedly called Haywood, who told him that they need to "lay low" and said he would make arrangements for a hotel room in Superior.

Haywood allegedly had another woman book the room in her name and they picked up Davenport. Tara Baker drove her brother and children to the hotel later that night, according to the charges.

Davenport and Tara Baker are scheduled to be back in court on Tuesday, with Haywood and Noah Baker due back on Sept. 20. King's next appearance has not been scheduled.