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Cash bail set for murder suspects

Three of the five people accused in the fatal Tuesday night shooting of a Superior man during a robbery attempt made their initial appearances in Douglas County Court Friday.

Three of the five people accused in the fatal Tuesday night shooting of a Superior man during a robbery attempt made their initial appearances in Douglas County Court Friday.

Teah Joan Phillips, 17, of Superior, and Duluth residents Kane Michael Robinson, 20, and Dallas Eugene Robinson, 18, are each charged with felony murder-party to a crime for the death of Garth Velin. Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy ordered high cash bail for the three - $100,000 cash bail for Kane Robinson, $75,000 cash bail for Dallas Robinson and $50,000 cash bail for Phillips, a Superior High School junior with a 4.0 grade point average. They were ordered to have no contact with other co-defendants and not use or possess dangerous weapons, controlled substances or paraphernalia. A joint preliminary hearing for the three was set for Wednesday.

Blank requested the stiff cash bail amounts.

“I think as you can tell with all the emotions and all the talk, old fashioned and social media, there’s a lot of intensity surrounding the whole scenario,” he said. “I think it’s in their best interest to be arguably safe in the jail rather than on the streets.”

It will also provide time for everyone to catch their breath and for those charged to get matched up with attorneys.

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Two additional suspects remain in custody in Minnesota - Kyham L. Dunn, 20, of Duluth and alleged shooter Chance W. Andrews, 17, of Superior. The two are challenging extradition to Douglas County.

The five are accused of trying to rob Velin, 20, at his residence in Superior’s Allouez neighborhood. Andrews allegedly pulled a gun on Velin but he grabbed the gun and it went off, according to the criminal complaints.

Velin was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound. Blank, who knows Velin’s family, called the incident a horrible tragedy. Families and friends of both the victim and those accused filed into the courtroom Friday, leaving standing room only. One woman sobbed quietly during the proceedings.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotion for a long time,” Blank said.

Drugs, specifically marijuana, played a factor in the incident, according to Blank and Deputy Chief Nick Alexander with the Superior Police Department. Alexander confirmed evidence of some illegal drug activity at Velin’s residence.

“However, the focus of our investigation remains on the murder investigation, which was the result of a robbery plan for money,” Alexander said.

The death of any citizen is tragic, he said, regardless of their age. This incident will have an impact on the futures and lives of all the young people involved and their families.

Phillips’ attorney, James Babbitt told the court that the 17-year-old has been active in wrestling, softball and volleyball at school and was a volunteer volleyball coach for the Superior-Douglas County YMCA. She hopes to become a diesel mechanic and was in the process of taking classes at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. If convicted, she and her co-defendants face a maximum penalty of up to 35 years imprisonment.

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“This is hitting very close to home for a lot of people because as we know there’s way too many of our young people involved with drugs,” Blank said. “If there’s ever a public discussion on legalizing marijuana and/or whether there’s any truth to the gateway of marijuana to other, more serious situations, this is it, live and in color.”

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICESUPERIOR
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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