Alyssa DuCharme didn't want to cry during the short court hearing Wednesday in Anoka, but it was the first time in months she had seen the man now in handcuffs and jail garb.
The hearing was for Timothy LaMere, 21, accused of supplying a synthetic drug that killed 19-year-old Trevor Robinson, the father of DuCharme's 14-month-old son. Court documents say Robinson took the drug 2C-E at a party in Blaine in March and died hours later. Ten others also took the drug and became ill.
DuCharme was surprised so little happened at the hearing, other than the setting of an April 16 trial date and of one more pretrial hearing in February. LaMere, who has been in jail since March, also requested a medical furlough to meet with a surgeon.
DuCharme, 18, said she knew LaMere before the March party, which she did not attend. She said that Robinson and LaMere weren't close friends but that at one point LaMere had lived with his family for a few months.
Although several of Robinson's relatives said they have mixed feelings about the felony third-degree murder charges against LaMere, DuCharme isn't at a place where she can forgive.
"Why would anybody defend him?" she asked after the hearing.
"I would like there to be consequences for his actions," she said.
The case drew the scrutiny of law enforcement and politicians nationwide as well as heightened concerns about synthetic drugs. Web-based retailers have become an easy place to obtain synthetic drugs even though many states, including Minnesota, have recently started enforcing laws aimed at reducing access to so-called research chemicals, bath salts and other synthetic substances.
Authorities say LaMere bought the drug over the Internet and brought it to the party.
In October, the U.S. attorney's office in Minnesota sent Anoka County prosecutor Paul Young a letter outlining a potential plea agreement that would forgo federal drug charges against LaMere if he agreed to spend nearly 10 years behind bars and help authorities pursue other potential targets in the case. The U.S. attorney's office said it hadn't decided on a course of action, the letter said.
According to preliminary autopsy reports, Robinson died from cardiac arrest attributed to toxicity associated with the presence of drugs in the "2C" family. Anoka County District Judge Alan Pendleton said Wednesday a pretrial hearing Feb. 8 will deal with a multitude of issues, including additional forensic testing and a final autopsy report.
DuCharme, with the help of her parents, is raising 14-month-old Bentley DuCharme, who is now walking and saying, "Dada and Mama," DuCharme said. She showed Bentley a picture of Robinson but has no idea when the time will be right to tell him about her father, whom she met in a fashion class at Blaine High School.
She said Robinson was the kind of person who tried to include everyone in activities and make people happy.
When LaMere's trial begins in April, DuCharme hopes to attend.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465