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Duluth overdose death leads to 2 manslaughter convictions

Kyham Lavon Dunn and Solomon Byrd Jr. were arrested after a woman was found dead in a downtown hotel room in September 2019, with a medical examiner citing fentanyl toxicity as the cause.

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Two men have pleaded guilty to homicide charges for providing the fentanyl that killed a 25-year-old woman in Duluth in September 2019.

Kyham Lavon Dunn, 27, entered the plea to a count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter on Nov. 29, with co-defendant Solomon Byrd Jr., 29, pleading guilty to the same charge Wednesday.

Both were initially arrested and charged in January 2020 with aiding and abetting third-degree murder in the death of Alexandria Meshell Price.

PREVIOUSLY: Two Duluth men arrested for overdose death

The victim was found unresponsive in a bathroom at the Holiday Inn, 200 W. First St., in downtown Duluth in the early morning of Sept. 18, 2019. Authorities responded to a call for medical assistance and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful, with Price pronounced dead at the scene.

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A medical examiner later determined the cause of death to be fentanyl toxicity.

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Kyham Lavon Dunn

During a brief search of the hotel room, officers located crushed-up pills and a piece of burnt tin foil that later tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. The victim's mother and 3-year-old son were also in the hotel room, according to a criminal complaint. Law enforcement later learned the victim's partner had died of an overdose seven days earlier in Superior.

Investigators said they later learned the victim had made arrangements to purchase heroin from Dunn, who had an active warrant for his arrest and was arrested that same day. He admitted to facilitating the drug exchange between the victim and Byrd.

Dunn then went with law enforcement to point out Byrd's residence, where police located drug paraphernalia and Byrd's cellphone, the complaint stated.

An electronic forensic analysis revealed that the victim picked up Dunn at his address Sept. 17 before Dunn placed a call with Byrd. Shortly after, Dunn and the victim arrived at Byrd's residence for a few minutes. The victim then dropped off Dunn at his residence before returning to her hotel room.

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Solomon Byrd

A plea agreement reached with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office specifies that Dunn would receive a 41-month prison sentence for the manslaughter conviction. He separately pleaded guilty to two other felony counts of domestic assault.

Byrd is expected to receive a sentence that falls within the low end of state guidelines, but the exact term was subject to a criminal history worksheet that will be prepared as part of a presentence investigation.

Minnesota and Wisconsin court records show that Byrd has a prior felony conviction for aggravated first-degree robbery and numerous misdemeanors related to fleeing police officers or providing a false name.

Dunn has numerous misdemeanor convictions, including battery and disorderly conduct in both states. He was acquitted of a party to murder charge in the 2014 shooting death of Garth Velin in Superior. Of the five people arrested in the case, he was the only defendant found not guilty.

Byrd remains free on bond, while Dunn has been held in the St. Louis County Jail since his Nov. 15 arrest on a warrant related to his failure to appear at a hearing.

Both are expected to appear before Judge Eric Hylden for sentencing Jan. 3.

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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