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Hearing cancelled for Paynesville, Minn., murder suspect still without counsel

Delbert Huber

WILLMAR -- An omnibus hearing scheduled for today has been cancelled in the case of Delbert Edwin Huber, 81, the rural Paynesville man indicted on first-degree murder charges for shooting and killing an Albertville man last fall in northern Kandiyohi County.

Huber's next hearing is now May 16 in Kandiyohi County District Court. As of Wednesday afternoon, no attorney had filed a certificate of representation acknowledging that he or she is acting as Huber's attorney. A two-week jury trial for Huber is set to begin June 18.

Huber and his son, Timothy John Huber, 46, both face first-degree murder charges for their roles in the Oct. 8 death of Timothy Richard Larson, 43, Albertville. According to the criminal complaint, Delbert Huber allegedly shot and killed 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.

Both Hubers have been 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 million bail.

A mental evaluation report of the younger Huber has been filed with the court, but is not public information. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Timothy Huber on April 30 before District Judge Donald M. Spilseth. Timothy Huber is represented by court-appointed counsel.

Delbert Huber was denied court-appointed counsel because of his assets. He has appeared seven times in court without a lawyer and has repeatedly said he and family members are attempting to hire an attorney. He said during a Jan. 23 hearing that he could have a lawyer in time for today's now-cancelled hearing.

The county attorney's office filed a memorandum March 30 regarding the representation issues in Huber's case, noting that the court, specifically Judge Michael J. Thompson, must determine if Huber has waived his right to counsel by his conduct or by forfeiture and if Huber is entitled to an advisory attorney, to assist in his self-representation.

Thompson noted in a Feb. 14 order, denying Huber's request for a public defense attorney, that Huber knowingly participated in the transfer of the majority of his assets to his niece while held in jail in the case. The order also noted that Huber admitted to owning land, valued at $532,000. The parcels are in Kandiyohi and Stearns counties.

The memo notes that Huber specifically asked for a three-month delay in the case and then did nothing. "The antics the defendant engaged in to divest himself of his assets with the purpose of avoiding the costs to retain a lawyer," the memo says.

In the final paragraph, the memo asserts that the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay Huber's lawyer bill: "The citizens of Kandiyohi County should not have to bear the expense of counsel that the defendant has the ability to retain but refuses."

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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