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$1 million bail is set in Red Wing slaying

Bail has been set at $1 million for two 19-year-olds charged with murder in connection with a shooting Sunday in Red Wing.

Marvin Todd Griffith and William Jamar Lawton, both of Red Wing, made their first appearance Tuesday in Goodhue County District Court.

Goodhue County Attorney Stephen Betcher said Griffith shot and killed 27-year-old Joel Rafael Diaz Albelo while trying to rob him during a drug deal.

Lawton, Betcher said, appears to have been an accomplice.

Another alleged accomplice, 16-year-old Julian Stephan Smith of Red Wing, also appeared in court Tuesday. A judge ordered that he remain in custody at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing.

Earlier reports indicated that Smith was from Zumbrota.

All three teens have been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted aggravated robbery, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.

Betcher said his office is still trying to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring the suspects before a grand jury on premeditated first-degree murder charges.

Betcher asked that bail be set at $1.5 million for Griffith, the alleged trigger man, but that request was denied by First District Court Judge Thomas Bibus.

"These are very serious charges," Betcher said. "The situation is extremely grave."

Griffith and Lawton are currently being represented by a public defender but are contemplating hiring a private attorney.

They will make their next court appearance at 9 a.m. Feb. 15. Smith's next court date is 1 p.m. Jan. 30.

Sunday's murder, according to a criminal complained filed Tuesday, happened in an alley behind a house at 308 W. Seventh St.

Albelo was driving a vehicle with three passengers when he stopped near Andy's Bar to speak with a man, the complaint states.

The four were coming from Lake City to a party in Red Wing.

After talking with the man, the complaint states Albelo pulled into a nearby alley.

It was there the suspects apparently approached the car, planning to rob the victim, according to the complaint.

Lawton and Smith told investigators they saw Griffith pull out a gun and allegedly shoot Albelo after the two men argued, according to the complaint.

With a friend steering, the victim was able to drive down the alley a short distance to the 600 block of North Park Street, according to the complaint.

It appears one of Albelo's companions called police at 12:31 a.m. Authorities arrived at the scene and found Albelo already dead.

The house at 308 W. Seventh St. has been the site of drug activity in the past, according to the complaint. A search warrant was executed there in November. Marijuana and two swords were seized in the search.