Western Minn. murder suspect's hearing canceled; judge orders new hearing to close financial, legal matters
WILLMAR -- This afternoon's hearing for the rural Paynesville man indicted for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Timothy Richard Larson, 43, of Albertville, has been cancelled by District Judge Michael J. Thompson.
Thompson issued an order this morning that cancelled the initial appearance hearing for Delbert Edwin Huber, 81. The judge has now set a hearing at 11:30 a.m. Friday. The Friday hearing gives "any interested person, including the public and news media" the opportunity to speak to the closing of hearings regarding Huber's financial situation and the fact that he is not represented by legal counsel.
In his order, the judge found that the evidence regarding Huber's finances and ability to obtain legal counsel "may interfere with an overriding interest in this case and (Huber's) right to a fair trial" and may include confidential financial information not relevant to the issue of whether Huber is guilty or not.
Huber has been held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $5 million bail since the Oct. 8 incident. He's appeared in Kandiyohi County District Court on five occasions and has repeatedly told the court that his relatives were attempting to secure money to hire him a lawyer by mortgaging his land in Kandiyohi and Stearns counties.
At his very first appearance, Judge Kathryn N. Smith denied Huber's application for a public defender because he owns approximately 176 acres of land.
Huber and his son, Timothy John Huber, 45, were indicted by a Kandiyohi County grand jury on Nov. 17 on first-degree premeditated murder charges. They also face second-degree intentional and unintentional murder charges for their roles in the shooting death of Larson.
Last week, Thompson appointed Thomas Jones, of the Willmar law firm Jones and Patock, as an emergency conservator to act on Huber's behalf. The order outlines that the conservator will inventory and preserve Huber's assets, provide for the retention of his defense counsel, pay sums required for his defense and other items as requested by the court.
Huber's niece, Cherry DeMarais of Howard Lake, appeared with him at a Nov. 29 hearing and stated that she was attempting to get financing, by mortgaging Huber's land, to get money to retain an attorney.
DeMarais informed the court on Dec. 9 that she was not able to obtain the financing. However, Thompson's Dec. 12 order noted that DeMarais did not tell the court during the Nov. 29 hearing that a quitclaim deed was filed on Nov. 28 with the Kandiyohi County Recorder's office. The deed transferred ownership of 80 acres of Huber's land to DeMarais and Elise G. Wagner. DeMarais previously indicated that Wagner is Huber's sister.