A possible lifetime in prison is the sentence for a Hibbing 18-year-old who was filled with jealousy when he killed an Iron Range man who was blindfolded, marched into the woods and shot in the face.
Deshon I. Bonnell pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court to first-degree murder during a robbery in connection with the death of 33-year-old Joshua R. Lavalley of Aurora, Minn., whose body was found on Jan. 6 on a snowmobile trail near Hibbing.
The plea “calls for a sentence of life in prison but allows for a possibility of consideration for parole after 30 years,” the County Attorney’s Office said in a statement. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25, a week after Bonnell turns 19.
Bonnell had two alleged accomplices in the killing. Anthony Howson, 21, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his role in the killing but indicated earlier this month his intention to withdraw his plea. Bailey French, 17, is charged with first-degree murder and is scheduled to be back in court on Nov. 14. Howson and French also are from Hibbing.
According to police and the charges:
Police and emergency medical personnel went to the Mesabi Trail east of Kerr, after receiving a 911 call from a snowmobiler. There they found Lavalley’s body, with two gunshot wounds to the face.
Howson told police that he, Bonnell and French were with Lavalley over the weekend. Howson said Lavalley had made unwanted sexual contact with French and this angered her, Howson and Bonnell, who was her boyfriend.
French told police they all took Lavalley to where his body would later be found. Howson stayed in the car while she and a gun-toting Bonnell led a blindfolded Lavalley into the woods, where her boyfriend then shot their captive.