Former Austin man charged in death of U of M Duluth student

Published 10:24 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

By Tom Olsen

Duluth News Tribune

Roommates reportedly heard a suspect ordering William Andrew Grahek to turn over his “stash” and get to the ground moments before the University of Minnesota Duluth student was fatally shot inside his East Hillside residence last month.

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Deandre Demetrius Davenport, 21, formerly of Austin, is accused of firing two shots during the Feb. 14 home invasion that authorities said stemmed from an attempt to rob the 22-year-old of drugs and cash.

Prosecutors on Tuesday formally charged the case’s three remaining suspects — Davenport, 18-year-old Noah Anthony Charles King and 19-year-old Noah Duane Baker — with aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder and attempted first-degree aggravated robbery.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Mark Munger set bail for each at $1 million.

Tara Rai Baker, 22, was arraigned Monday on identical charges and is being held on $500,000 bail. Xavier Alfred Haywood, 26, was charged Monday with aiding an offender to avoid arrest and is being held on $50,000 bail.

Criminal complaints filed against the trio on Tuesday shed some new light on the investigation that led to the arrests of the five suspects late last week.

Investigators said Davenport, King and Noah Baker walked to Grahek’s house from King’s residence at 513 E. 10th St. — which is almost directly 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 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, according to the charges.

Investigators did recover a safe from Grahek’s bedroom containing controlled substances and cash, according to the criminal complaints filed Tuesday.

Authorities said it was Haywood who informed Davenport, King and Noah Baker that Grahek had “large quantities” of drugs and cash in the residence and instructed them to rob him.

Prosecutors said the three fled the scene in a 1999 Jeep Cherokee owned and driven by Tara Baker, who is the sister of Noah Baker and the girlfriend of Davenport. Baker allegedly told police that she drove because she was only one with a valid license.

Police said they obtained surveillance video showing the Jeep driving past King’s residence shortly before 1:30 p.m. 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 driving 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, 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.

All three suspects charged Tuesday have a history of felony convictions, remain on probation or pretrial supervised release in other cases and are potential flight risks, Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Jessica Fralich said in requesting the $1 million bail figure for each.

Davenport has convictions for second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle — a case in which he and Noah Baker were arrested after being found in a stolen car.

Noah Baker also was convicted in that case and has an extensive history of other adult and juvenile offenses.

As a juvenile, he was adjudicated on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree burglary and contempt of court. As an adult, he has been convicted of second-degree burglary, criminal damage to property, fleeing a police officer and numerous misdemeanor theft counts.

Fralich added that Baker likely will face additional charges stemming from an alleged assault on corrections officers in a holding cell prior to his court appearance Tuesday.

King has an adult conviction for aiding and abetting felony theft and faces a pending charge of second-degree burglary. As a juvenile, he was adjudicated on a first-degree aggravated robbery charge after authorities said he punched a man in the face and stole a pair of headphones.

All five defendants in the case are due back in court on March 30.