A Cloquet man will face a jury next week on charges that he fatally shot his ex-girlfriend's new partner during a confrontation outside a Gary-New Duluth residence in December 2018.
Brian Ross Shaw, 37, is finally set to go to trial for the death of 35-year-old Kevin Weiss Jr. after a series of delays that has kept the case lingering for 2 ½ years. Defense attorney Matthew Benfield told a judge Thursday that he and his client had been unable to reach any settlement agreement with prosecutors.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Jill Eichenwald will preside over the trial, which gets underway with jury selection June 22. Shaw faces counts of intentional second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Prosecutors allege that Shaw deliberately shot Weiss during a confrontation involving his then-former girlfriend, who had been dating Weiss. Shaw told police the shooting was accidental and that he was shoved by Weiss — but that account was disputed by forensic experts.
Authorities said Weiss had been kicked out of the woman's residence and returned Dec. 10, 2018, acting erratically and breaking a window. Shaw, who was living in Hibbing after breaking up with the woman, allegedly exchanged threatening text messages with Weiss before driving down to confront him.
Shaw told police that Weiss continued to advance on him and refused commands to back off in the confrontation outside the residence on the 100 block of West Reis Street. Shaw, who stated that he has a terminal illness, said Weiss eventually shoved him, causing the accidental shooting, according to the complaint.
But prosecutors contested his version, citing forensic analysis from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension which allegedly showed that the shotgun would only discharge if the safety lever was manually moved to the "fire" position and the trigger was pulled. Additionally, the report said Weiss was shot by shotgun pellets in a downward trajectory.
Benfield said he intends to argue that Shaw was legally justified in acting in defense of himself and others.
Shaw has been free on bond since shortly after his arraignment. According to court records, he was subsequently charged with three domestic violence-related incidents in the ensuing 18 months, all involving the same woman who was at issue in Weiss' death.
He was initially set to face a jury in January 2020 on just the manslaughter charge, but a late request by the prosecution to add the murder count led to a postponement. Shaw also underwent inpatient treatment in the ensuing months, and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant delays for trials.