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Murder Trial Begins in UMD Student's Death, Defendant Waives Jury

Baihly Warfield
Updated: October 30, 2018 10:22 AM

DULUTH, Minn. - A 20-year-old Duluth man is facing life in prison for first-degree murder. Noah King is on trial this week for his role in a UMD student's death, but on Monday, he waived his right to a jury trial. 

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King will instead have a bench trial starting Nov. 6. According to Minnesota law, Judge Mark Munger will decide whether he is guilty or not guilty instead of a jury.

King's is the first of two murder trials in this case. 

This case has been working its way through the judicial system for almost two years. 

On Valentine's Day 2017, Will Grahek was shot to death in his home on E 11th St. in Duluth. Later, court documents revealed it was over drugs and money. 

King, Deandre Davenport and Noah Baker allegedly went in Grahek's house to steal the drug "Molly" and cash. When he refused to hand it over, Davenport allegedly shot him twice. Police said they found a safe at the scene with "controlled substances" and cash inside. 

In total, five people were arrested in connection with Grahek's death. 

In the summer of 2017, a grand jury indicted King, Davenport and Baker on first-degree murder charges. In Minnesota, first-degree charges require a grand jury indictment. 

Noah Baker, however, arranged a plea deal to lower charges. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. In May, he was sentenced to 30 years. His sister, Tara Baker, was sentenced the same day for aiding an offender. She will not serve prison time if she abides by her probation for six years. 

Now, the first-degree trials begin. King's trial had been scheduled for three weeks, but waiving his right to a jury may shorten it since it cuts out the week that was expected to be spent on jury selection. 

Davenport's trial will be next, in early December. His was moved to Brainerd to ensure an impartial jury because of anticipated media coverage of the King trial. 

The fifth defendant, Xavier Haywood, was also charged with aiding an offender. His case is expected to move forward in the spring. 

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Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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