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Another delay in hearing for rural Paynseville, Minn., murder suspect

Delbert Huber1 / 2
Timothy Huber2 / 2

WILLMAR -- The latest court hearing for Delbert Edwin Huber, 81, was delayed to April 12 because the rural Paynesville man accused of murder asked for more time to hire an attorney.

Huber appeared Monday before District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court during what was supposed to be an omnibus hearing. Huber asked that court action be delayed until after April 1.

Huber told Judge Thompson that he thinks he should have an attorney by that time and that he was not prepared to represent himself in the murder case.

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 Oct. 8 death of Timothy Richard Larson, 43, of Albertville.

Delbert Huber allegedly shot Larson with a 303 British Enfield rifle during a confrontation over the fact that Larson ordered the Hubers and their farm equipment off farm property owned by Larson's father in rural Belgrade.

"We object to any further continuances in this matter," Kandiyohi County Attorney Jenna Fischer said during the hearing, noting that the case has made no progress in four months. "We've been delayed and delayed and delayed."

Monday's hearing marked the seventh time Delbert Huber has appeared in court without an attorney. His applications for a public defender have been denied twice by two judges.

His ownership of land is why his public defender application was first denied by Judge Kathryn N. Smith. Judge Thompson again denied Huber's access to public defense counsel during a Dec. 23 hearing and issued a formal order denying him a public defender on Jan. 5.

Thompson appointed an emergency conservator, local attorney Thomas Jones, for Huber after a quitclaim deed was filed by Huber's niece. Cherry DeMarais of Howard Lake, on Nov. 28 filed with the Kandiyohi County Recorder's office a deed transferring ownership of 80 acres of Huber's land to DeMarais and to Elise G. Wagner, who is Huber's sister.

DeMarais had appeared at several court hearings and stated that she was attempting to get financing -- by mortgaging Huber's land -- to retain an attorney on his behalf.

Thompson on Monday reiterated his denial of a public defender for Huber and gave warning that this would be the defendant's last opportunity to get a lawyer.

"I'll give you this one last chance to get an attorney," the judge said. "I'm going forward with the hearing on that day. I will not allow you to continue to delay this matter."

Thompson noted that he understood Fischer's concerns about the delay, but that for the best interest of justice, the court needed to provide Huber with the additional time to hire legal counsel.

Fischer also filed the state's witness and exhibit lists during the hearing and asked that a block of time for Huber's trial, likely more than two weeks, be set on the judge's calendar.

Thompson did not set the trial dates, but noted he would take the trial scheduling under advisement. Fischer noted that there are more than 120 exhibits and more than 30 witnesses on the state's list.

Both of the Hubers have been held in the Kandiyohi County Jail since the day of the shooting incident, which they reported to law enforcement approximately 12 hours after it happened. Delbert Huber is held on $5 million bail and Timothy Huber on $1 bail.

A mental competency evaluation was ordered on Dec. 7 for Timothy Huber, whose public defense attorneys had previously filed a notice that their client was either mentally ill or under duress.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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