Jury finds Haywood guilty for role in Grahek murder

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UPDATE – The verdict is in. After three days of testimony, Thursday evening a jury found Xavier Haywood guilty of a felony count of aiding an offender in connection with the 2017 murder of UMD Student William Grahek, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

Haywood is one of five suspects in the 2017 murder of Grahek.

The 28-year-old is accused of aiding an offender, planning the robbery and later helping others involved hide out at a Superior hotel.

Court documents say three men entered Grahek’s home looking to steal cash and drugs.

The plan apparently went wrong, and Grahek was shot twice and died.

Wednesday, testimony came from a Duluth police officer, as well as Noah Baker, who is currently serving 30 years behind bars after being convicted of 2nd degree murder in the same case.

Baker also took the stand Wednsday along with cell phone experts.

Prosecutors have tried to link Haywood to the case by claiming he helped Baker burn the clothes those involved with the crime were wearing, among other things.

During Thursday’s closing arguments, the defense in the case argued that they went to do a drug deal instead of burning the clothes to eliminate evidence.

The defense also stated Haywood should not be charged for aiding and abetting an offender because he didn’t assist with the actual burning of clothes.

The State said that Haywood knew what he was doing because of his past web searches on his phones which included: “Breaking news in Duluth,” “St. Louis County Jail Roster” and “aiding an offender.”

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DULUTH, MN — The fate of a 28-year-old accused of helping others get away with murder is now in the hands of a jury.

This comes after a three-day jury trial, and closing arguments Thursday that lasted hours.

Xavier Haywood is accused of aiding an offender and is one of five suspects in the 2017 murder of UMD student William Grahek.

Today testimony came from a Duluth police officer as well as Noah Baker who is currently serving 30 years behind bars after being convicted of 2nd-degree murder in the same case.

Baker also took the stand yesterday along with cell phone experts.

Haywood is accused of planning the robbery and later helping others involved hide out at a Superior hotel.

Court documents say, on February 14th, 2017 three men entered Grahek’s home looking to steal cash and drugs.

The plan apparently went wrong and Grahek was shot twice and died.

Prosecutors have tried to link Haywood to the case by claiming he helped Baker burn the clothes those involved with the crime were wearing, among other things.

During Thursday’s closing arguments, the defense in the case argued that they went to do a drug deal instead of burning the clothes to eliminate evidence.

The defense also stated Haywood should not be charged for aiding and abetting an offender because he didn’t assist with the actual burning of clothes.

The State said that  Haywood knew what he was doing because of his past web searches on his phones which included: “Breaking news in Duluth” and “St. Louis County Jail Roster,” as well as “aiding and an offender.”

Haywood was also captured on surveillance a number of times at the hotel that Deandre Davenport and Noah Baker were staying. Davenport was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after being found guilty on two counts of murder in the first degree, and one count of intentional second-degree murder.

The State has records that show phone calls made between Haywood and a Davenport, the day of, and two days after the murder. The prosecution found many of the phone calls and messages between the duo were deleted on one or the other, or both phones.

The jury is currently in deliberation and if no verdict is reached by 9 PM Thursday, then they will return to deliberations tomorrow.

Jenna Lake

Jenna Lake

Meteorologist
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