Hermantown's first homicide ruled self-defense; stabber gets probationA judge, determining that a Duluth man stabbed another man to death in self-defense in Hermantown's first homicide, departed from state sentencing guidelines in giving the defendant a probationary sentence today.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A judge, determining that a Duluth man stabbed another man to death in self-defense in Hermantown's first homicide, departed from state sentencing guidelines in giving the defendant a probationary sentence today.
Michael Charles Bailor Jr., 21, pleaded guilty in St. Louis County District Court in August to a charge of second-degree manslaughter. He admitted stabbing Derrick A. Wilson, 27, on Nov. 10 at the Runway Bar and Grill in Hermantown. The single stab wound severed Wilson’s femoral artery in the upper thigh, causing him to bleed to death.
The defendant had been charged with unintentional second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a plea agreement reached with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Heather Sweetland told the parties and relatives and friends of the victim and the defendant that she had read all of the police reports and they indicated that Wilson was the initial aggressor in the incident. She said that Bailor acted in self-defense. She said he stabbed Wilson once “unfortunately in the wrong place,’’ but that the defendant didn’t continue the fight.
The father and grandmother of the victim told the court that they didn’t think the sentence provided justice for the loss of their loved one. “It was the most devastating thing to even hear about,’’ said Letha Houston, Wilson’s grandmother. “I think it was malicious. There was no consideration. Our family is suffering all the time with this. We’re sick.’’
Paul Houston, the victim’s father, said his son was his best friend. “To have his life snuffed from him and me is ridiculous,’’ he told the court. “The sentencing guidelines of 58 months is not right.’’
Bailor addressed the court before being sentenced. He said he had “heartfelt remorse.’’
“The unfortunate outcome of my actions were never my intention,’’ he said. “That night was and will remain without a doubt the most painful and regretful night of my entire life.’’
The court then granted public defender Rebecca Shaw’s request that her client be given a probationary sentence instead of prison.
Sweetland stayed the guideline prison sentence of 58 months for six years of supervised probation. As conditions of his probation, Bailor must spend one year in the Northeast Regional Corrections Center, refrain from the use of alcohol or unprescribed drugs, submit to random testing, pay restitution and a $500 fine or perform 100 hours of community service work, in lieu of the fine. He must also write a letter of apology to the victim’s family.