Murder trial begins in Superior
The cast of characters for Kyham Lavon Dunn's murder trial that opened Monday in Superior echoes the June trial of co-defendant Kane Michael Robinson, with one exception: Robinson's brother and co-defendant Dallas Eugene Robinson, 20, is expected...
The cast of characters for Kyham Lavon Dunn's murder trial that opened Monday in Superior echoes the June trial of co-defendant Kane Michael Robinson, with one exception: Robinson's brother and co-defendant Dallas Eugene Robinson, 20, is expected to testify against Dunn.
When Dallas Robinson was subpoenaed to testify with immunity at his brother's June trial, he refused and was slapped with a jail sentence for contempt of court.
Dunn, 21, is facing one count of party to murder for his role in the fatal shooting of Garth Velin in September 2014.
Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank said the evidence will prove that Dunn was one of five young adults who went to Velin's house in Superior's Allouez neighborhood to get money or marijuana. Velin was shot by one of the five, Chance William Andrews, then 17, inside the entryway of his home.
"You will hear evidence of an armed robbery gone bad," Blank told the 14 jurors - nine women and five men - on Monday.
Dunn was in the car when they drove by the house twice and when another co-defendant, Teah Phillips, then 17, got out to make sure Velin was home. He walked up to the house with Dallas Robinson and Andrews, who confessed to being the shooter. And new evidence from Dallas Robinson adds another element to the scene, Blank told the jury. He will say Dunn also had a gun after the shooting.
"Two people in Garth Velin's house had guns seen on them after the fact," Blank said.
Dunn's defense attorney, Aaron Nelson, doesn't dispute many of the facts - the carload of five young adults driving to Superior, Phillips' scouting mission to make sure someone they didn't get along with wasn't there, Dunn and Dallas Robinson walking up to the house with Andrews, the fatal shot coming from Andrews' gun. The question, he said, is why they were there.
"There was no plan to commit an armed robbery," Nelson said. "There was no discussion in that car to commit armed robbery." Only Andrews had a gun, he said, and none of the other four knew it until the shots were fired.
Dallas Robinson's testimony could net him a reduced charge of attempted armed robbery under a plea deal offered by Blank. He currently faces one count of party to murder.
To find Dunn guilty, the state must prove that Dunn knew "unequivocally," or clearly, that an armed robbery was planned and was ready to aid or abet in the crime, Nelson said. Dallas Robinson's testimony will add a side trip to the car's route that night, a stop at his grandparents' house to get money to buy marijuana.
"A bunch of teenagers wanted to get some pot. They went someplace to get money to get pot and went to get some pot," Nelson said. "Chance Andrews did what Chance Andrews did."
It was not, he said, a grand conspiracy.
The jury of 14 - 12 jurors and two alternates - will evaluate the evidence provided by Blank this week, including testimony from Phillips, and a written statement by Dunn that he was at the door of Velin's house when Andrews fired. Nelson told the court he doesn't expect to call any witnesses. The jury trial is expected to wrap up Friday.
Andrews pleaded guilty on June 9 in Douglas County Circuit Court to felony murder for shooting Velin twice in the chest. He is serving a 40-year sentence for the murder and two additional felony charges unrelated to the murder.
A jury found Kane Robinson, 21, guilty of party to felony murder in June, and he was sentenced last month to 28 years - 18 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision.
Phillips has a jury trial scheduled for Feb. 24. She faces one count of party to murder. Dallas Robinson's trial is scheduled for March.