DNA challenged in Lakeside assault, robbery case – Duluth News Tribune


Warren Holt Jr., 28, of Duluth, faces four felony counts in the alleged attack, which a prosecutor called “swift and vicious.” Police said the victim was stabbed, beaten and strangled, and that Holt was later arrested driving his stolen pickup truck.

Public defender Rebecca Shaw on Friday notified the court of her challenge to the sufficiency of the affidavit and application for warrant that were previously approved by a judge, allowing investigators to seize a DNA sample from Holt.

Judge Jill Eichenwald ordered Shaw and Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Tony Rubin to submit written briefs on the issue, with the court expected to take the matter under advisement on Oct. 29.

Warren Holt Jr.

According to court documents, the victim told police that he was in his garage shortly before 2 p.m. June 16 when an intruder hit him in the head with a can of varnish and choked him. The suspect then stole his house and car keys and left in his pickup truck.

The 78-year-old stated that the same man had been by his house, on the 6100 block of East Superior Street, less than an hour earlier. The suspect was looking at a Ford truck parked in the driveway before the victim “shooed” him away, according to the complaint.

PREVIOUSLY: Duluth man charged in ‘vicious’ assault, robbery

The charging document alleges that Holt left, only to return to hide in bushes before “emerging to ambush the victim in his own garage.” He allegedly struck the victim with a can, wrapped his arm around the victim’s neck and dragged him to the rear of the garage, where the 78-year-old was stabbed multiple times with an awl, a woodworking tool similar to an ice pick.

The victim suffered several injuries to the face and head as well as puncture wounds to the chest, including above his heart. He also suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and injuries to the neck and throat, according to the complaint.

Holt was allegedly found driving the victim’s Ford near Scanlon later that day. He reportedly told Carlton County deputies that he was looking to purchase the truck and was test-driving it. Arresting officers noted he had a fresh cut on his wrist and apparent blood on his shoe.

Authorities have not outlined the specifics of any DNA evidence that could be introduced at trial.

PREVIOUSLY: Lakeside assault suspect posts bond; prosecution seeks stiff sentence

Holt is charged with aggravated first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree burglary. Rubin has filed a notice of intent to seek an above-guideline sentence if the defendant is convicted, saying the crime occurred in a place where the victim had an expectation of privacy and that he was treated with “particular cruelty.”

Holt remains free after posting a $150,000 bond in late June.