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Murder hearing looms in Douglas County

Following a two-hour hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court Wednesday, the trial of a Duluth man accused of being involved in the September murder of a Superior man remained on the court calendar.

Following a two-hour hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court Wednesday, the trial of a Duluth man accused of being involved in the September murder of a Superior man remained on the court calendar.

Kyham Lavon Dunn, 21, faces one count of party to felony murder for the fatal shooting of Garth Velin during an alleged botched robbery attempt. Both his attorney, Aaron Nelson, and District Attorney Dan Blank told Judge Kelly Thimm they were prepared to go to trial on Aug. 31.

The bulk of the hearing revolved around whether three photos and five videos found on Dunn’s cell phone could be admitted into evidence. The media depicted Dunn and two co-defendants, the convicted shooter, Chance William Andrews, 18, of Superior and Dallas Eugene Robinson, 19, of Duluth, who also faces one count of party to felony murder. In some of the photos and videos, Dunn holds what appears to be a handgun. In one, he is holding what appears to be a rifle.

Thimm ruled that only one photo would be admitted into evidence - an Aug. 30, 2014, picture that showed Dunn and Andrews standing together making signs with their hands. Although he denied the rest of the exhibits as irrelevant, Thimm withheld ruling on two of the videos. Depending on the evidence presented at trial, the judge said, the two videos, each of which show Andrews with what appears to be a handgun, could be relevant.

"This clearly goes to knowledge," Thimm said. "Mr. Dunn knew Mr. Andrews had a firearm, at least at that point." The videos in question were taken on Sept. 24 and 25, less than a week before the fatal shooting.

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The other media presented, Thimm said, were not relevant because the gun in question was not the murder weapon.

"Possessing a firearm in the United States is not a bad thing," the judge said, and many residents cherish their right to bear arms.

"I’m concerned about confusion of issues," Thimm said, because Dunn is not accused of being the shooter.

Andrews pleaded guilty to murder June 9. A jury found another co-defendant, Kane Michael Robinson, 21, of Duluth, guilty of party to felony murder on June 25. Dallas Robinson’s trial was pulled from the court calendar after his attorney Craig Haukaas withdrew late last month. The final co-defendant, Teah Joan Phillips, 17, is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 27 for the same charge, party to felony murder.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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