A 33-year-old Iron Range man was blindfolded, marched into the woods and shot twice in the face for allegedly pursuing another man's 17-year-old girlfriend, according to murder charges filed Thursday.
Deshon I. Bonnell, 18, and Anthony E. Howson, 20, were each charged in St. Louis County District Court with second-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery in connection with the death of 33-year-old Joshua R. Lavalley of Aurora, Minn., whose body was found Sunday on a snowmobile trail near Hibbing, Minn.
Bonnell and Howson remained jailed in lieu of $1 million bail ahead of a Jan. 17 court date. Bailey B. French, the 17-year-old girl who is said to have attracted Lavalley's attention, was charged as a juvenile with the same counts and is being detained as well. All three suspects are from Hibbing.
According to police and the charges:
Police and emergency medical personnel went to the Mesabi Trail east of Kerr, Minn., after receiving a 911 call from a snowmobiler about 3 p.m. Sunday.
They found Lavalley's body, which had two gunshot wounds to the face, and police identified him through fingerprints.
Police located Howson in Lavalley's car in Hibbing. He told police that he, Bonnell and French were with Lavalley over the weekend.
Howson said Lavalley had "attempted unwanted sexual contact" with French and this angered her, Howson and Bonnell, her boyfriend.
French told police that the trio had taken Lavalley to where his body would later be found. Howson stayed in the car while she and a gun-toting Bonnell led a blindfolded Lavalley into the woods, she told police.
She said her boyfriend then shot Lavalley, and the two of them returned to the car.
Bonnell's mother told police that her .22-caliber pistol was missing. A police search of French's home turned up a .22-caliber pistol under a mattress.
This was the second homicide in Hibbing, a city of roughly 16,000, in less than two weeks.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482