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Hibbing murder suspect to undergo mental competency exam

HIBBING, MN — Attorneys for a man charged in a brutal murder on the Iron Range claim he’s not mentally fit to stand trial.

In court Thursday, a judge ordered that 18-year-old Deshon Bonnell undergo a mental competency exam. Bonnell is charged with murder, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery in the death of 33-year old Joshua Lavalley on January 6th.

Two others, 20-year-old Anthony Howson, and a 17-year-old girl, are also facing murder, kidnapping, and robbery charges for their alleged roles in the case.

Howson also appeared in court Thursday, but court officials say he will not undergo a mental competency exam. The teenage girl is due back in court later this month, but it has not been determined if she will be tried as an adult.

According to the criminal complaint, Lavalley’s body was found on the Mesabi Trail, near Kerr.

Court documents claim Lavalley attempted “unwanted sexual contact” with the teen in the days leading up to his death.

According to the criminal complaint, that alleged act angered Bonnell, Howson, and the teen. They allegedly took Lavalley to the trail, blindfolded, where his body was later found.

Howson allegedly stayed in the vehicle and told police he heard two shots.

Bonnell and the teen allegedly returned without Lavalley. According to court documents, Bonnell was also apparently holding a handgun.

Bonnell and Howson are each being held on $1 million bail in the St. Louis County Jail.

Briggs LeSavage

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