Authorities: Superior, Wis., homicide drug-related
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- The shooting death of a 20-year-old Superior man on Tuesday evening was the result of a drug-related robbery gone wrong, according to charges filed Thursday in Douglas County Circuit Court. Authorities formally charged 17-year-o...
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- The shooting death of a 20-year-old Superior man on Tuesday evening was the result of a drug-related robbery gone wrong, according to charges filed Thursday in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Authorities formally charged 17-year-old Chance William Andrews of Superior with felony murder - a crime that carries up to 35 years in prison - in the death of Garth Velin . Andrews was taken into custody in St. Louis County and is awaiting extradition back to Wisconsin to face the charges.
A criminal complaint filed Thursday alleges that Andrews pulled the trigger on a small pistol during an attempted robbery at Velin’s home, 3706 E. First St, in Superior’s east Allouez neighborhood. Velin was struck in the chest by at least one bullet and pronounced dead at the scene.
The complaint indicates that Velin was a seller of marijuana, and was targeted for his cash. The relationship between Velin and the suspects was not immediately clear.
Kyham Lavon Dunn, 20, of Duluth, Minn., also was formally charged Thursday as a party to the crime. Like Andrews, he was in St. Louis County custody and is awaiting extradition.
Three additional suspects - Teah J. Phillips, 17, of Superior; Kane M. Robinson, 20 of Duluth; and Dallas E. Robinson, 18, of Duluth - are at the Douglas County Jail. The three are expected to be formally charged and arraigned Friday afternoon, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
Police planned to speak more on the case at a press conference Friday afternoon. Department officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
According to the criminal complaint:
Velin’s body was discovered by his girlfriend, who was upstairs at the time of the shooting. She told police that Velin sold marijuana and knew of at least one person who owed him about $300.
Following the announcement of Velin’s death, police received numerous tips and monitored social media comments which mentioned Andrews and Phillips, who are in a relationship.
A man who lives in rural Duluth told police on Wednesday that Andrews and his mother had been to his home and wanted to hide their car behind his house. He said Andrews also showed him a small handgun. The man said he did not want to get involved and contacted police.
A Superior police detective saw the car on the road and initiated a traffic stop. He held the car at gunpoint until back-up arrived, and Andrews, the passenger, was arrested.
Phillips approached the school liaison officer at Superior High School on Wednesday, wanting to talk about the homicide. She came with a friend, and they reported to the officer that they were together the entire evening. Phillips stated she had broken up with Andrews on Friday and had not seen him since Sunday.
Investigators spoke with several other students, who reported that Phillips was involved in the incident. One student said Phillips told him that she was with Andrews when Velin was killed. The student said Phillips told him that “Garth has weed and they were looking for money.” She allegedly reported that Andrews pulled a gun, a struggle ensued, and the gun discharged.
Investigators re-interviewed the 16-year-old girl who accompanied Phillips to the earlier meeting with the school liaison officer. This time, she reported that she was only with Phillips for part of the evening. The girl said she stayed in Duluth while Phillips left in a car with Andrews, Dunn, Dallas Robinson and Kane Robinson.
The student said she did not hear about the shooting until later in the evening. When she read about it on Twitter, she had a brief conversation with Phillips. The girl stated that Phillips told her that Andrews shot Velin and that it was an accident.
On Wednesday, the two exchanged text messages throughout the day. Phillips wrote to her at one point: “I might as well have done it myself.”
In a later message, Phillips wrote: “I haven’t seen Chance since Sunday after he broke up with me on Friday.” The girl said she believed that was the information she was supposed to tell police if asked.
Phillips and her mother voluntarily came to the Superior police station at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators told her that she “needs to start telling the truth.”
Phillips admitted that the evening of the incident she picked up Andrews, Dunn, Kane Robinson and Dallas Robinson. She said they drove back to Superior and she was ordered to park behind the Subway restaurant at 38th Avenue East.
Phillips said Andrews told her they were “going to get some money.” She was directed by Andrews to walk to Velin’s house and knock on the door. She did so, and told the man that answered that she was looking for a lost puppy.
Phillips said she returned to the car and they showed her a Facebook picture of Velin. She confirmed that he was the one that answered the door.
Phillips said she remained in the car with Kane Robinson while Andrews, Dunn and Dallas Robinson left on foot to go to Velin’s house. They returned a short time later, and told her that “it went bad.”
Andrews told her that he had pulled a gun on Velin, but that Velin grabbed it, Phillips said. The gun accidentally discharged, and Velin was struck by the bullet.
Phillips said she drove back to Duluth with the four passengers, and Andrews told everyone in the car that “what happened does not leave this car” or he would kill them. Phillips dropped the friends off and returned to Superior.
Police received several other tips in relation to the incident. One neighbor on the 3700 block of East First Street called and reported that three males, in their teens to early 20s, were walking on the block, wearing bandanas over their faces, about 15-20 minutes before the shooting.
A driver also reported seeing the three men on East Second Street at the time of the shooting. The three men were running until they crossed behind the Subway station, where they slowed to a walk, the person said.
All five suspects were taken into custody Wednesday.