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Duluth man accused of hatchet slashing seeks to have charges dismissed

A Duluth man accused of slashing another man's throat with a hatchet is seeking to have criminal charges against him dropped. Aaron Demetrius Humphreys, 39, was in State District Court in Duluth on Friday on charges of attempted second-degree mur...

A Duluth man accused of slashing another man's throat with a hatchet is seeking to have criminal charges against him dropped.

Aaron Demetrius Humphreys, 39, was in State District Court in Duluth on Friday on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault with great bodily harm and two counts of second-degree assault.

Humphreys' attorney, public defender Jill Eichenwald, filed a motion Wednesday seeking dismissal of the criminal complaint. Judge John DeSanto gave Eichenwald two weeks to submit a written memo in support of the motion.

Outside the courtroom, Eichenwald would not discuss specifics, but said she believes reports received from the prosecution, and an investigation conducted by the public defender's office, are in her client's favor.

"We think there is insufficient evidence, based on the reports we've received, to show that Mr. Humphreys caused the injury," she said. "There are real questions about what is alleged to have happened."

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Prosecutor Jessica Fralich, who was not at the hearing due to an illness, will have an opportunity to respond to Eichenwald's motion before DeSanto issues an order. The judge said he hopes to rule on the motion by March 7.

The criminal complaint alleges that Humphreys slashed

39-year-old Alexander Taylor's throat with a hatchet as part of an ongoing argument on July 8. Taylor sustained a slash wound that cut muscles in his neck and nicked an artery, requiring emergency medical care.

One witness told police that Taylor attempted to walk away from the confrontation but the witness saw Humphreys slash at Taylor's neck, and she saw him fall to the ground three times, according to the complaint. Another witness told police that she saw the two men walk behind a convenience store, and she could hear yelling. She then saw Humphreys' hand in Taylor's neck area and heard Taylor say, "he slit my throat."

Authorities said they found inconsistencies in Humphreys' statements. When searching a room at a residence where Humphreys frequently stays, police found a hatchet with a handle about a foot long.

Humphreys is out of jail on $100,000 bond and is on intensive supervised release.

Related Topics: CRIME
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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