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A St. Louis County jury on Wednesday found Deshon Israel Bonnell, 23, guilty of Premeditated Murder in the First Degree and Murder in the First Degree While Committing or Attempting to Commit Kidnapping. Both charges carry a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of release.

In 2019, Bonnell pleaded guilty to Murder in the First Degree While Committing or Attempting to Commit Aggravated Robbery and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of release after 30 years. Bonnell subsequently appealed.

In a December 2022 opinion, the Minnesota Supreme Court remanded the case back to district court after finding Bonnell’s plea was not accurate.

Bonnell’s jury trial commenced in district court on May 13, 2024, before the Honorable Rachel Sullivan. At trial, it was proven that, in the early morning hours of January 6, 2019, Bonnell walked Joshua Robert LaValley down the Mesabi Trial and shot him twice in the face, resulting in LaValley’s death.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of Joshua LaValley. He was a son, a father, a brother, an uncle, and a nephew,” County Attorney Kim Maki said. “This has been a long road to justice. Mr. LaValley’s family has shown the utmost strength, and we thank them for their support throughout the criminal justice process.”

The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office thanks the Hibbing Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for their hard work and dedication in investigating this matter. The case was prosecuted by Range Criminal Division Head Bonnie Norlander and Assistant County Attorney Tyler Kenefick.

Sentencing is set for June 18, 2024, at 3 p.m.