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Two Harbors man charged with second degree murder

Friends of Raymond Weeks say they are still in shock after the 42-year-old Two Harbors resident was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. They say that he moved back to the North Shore last spring and seemed to want to become part of the community again.

Weeks, who was a frequent visitor of the Waterfront Center, had begun making dream catchers and teaching others about Native American culture and drumming, said Karen Saari, the center's peer coordinator. She said she is concerned about Weeks and plans to take a trip to Duluth to see him at the St Louis County Jail, where he's being held on $250,000 bond.

"I wish I could let him know we all love and support him," she said.

According to the arrest warrant, Weeks' charges stem from the December 2012 murder of 54-year old Kevin John Tyman of Duluth. Weeks' former roommate, Joella Tucker, 32, of Duluth, has been charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder for allegedly persuading Weeks to commit the crime.

The investigation into Tyman's murder revealed that Tucker contacted several people demanding that they "take care" of Tyman, alleging that he had sexually assaulted her sister and molested her 3-year old son, authorities said. A man who told authorities he talked with Tucker the night that Tyman was killed said that Tucker was talking about her son being molested, but said, "Ray is going to take care of it."

Duluth police confirmed last week that they were made aware that the woman's sexual assault allegations, but said they have been unable to meet with her to investigate and no police report has been filed.

Tyman died after a single stab wound to the right side of his abdomen resulted in the laceration of his liver, police said. Tyman, who lived in an apartment at 15 E. Seventh St. in Duluth, went to a neighboring apartment just after 10 p.m. to ask for help. Police responded and found

Tyman in pain and holding his abdomen on the front steps to the apartment. When officers attempted to ask him what happened, Tyman fell backwards onto the sidewalk and drifted in and out of consciousness. He was taken to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:36 p.m.

A neighbor living across the street from the apartment told police that she had seen two people run out of Tyman's building and that they stumbled in the street, dropping something that made a "clank" sound. She said they picked it up and continued running toward Lake Avenue. During the investigation, a police officer found a knife that matched witness descriptions.

Archie Robinson, who shared an apartment with Tyman, said he was drinking with Tyman, who then decided to go out to buy more alcohol. He described seeing two people "rush" Tyman in front of the building.

In the days after the homicide, Tucker told one person in a text message that "Kevin would not be raping or molesting anyone again."

Saari said that she first met Weeks several years ago when he was homeless and living in the woods near Two Harbors. She said Weeks had severe drug and alcohol problems and was eventually arrested and jailed in Duluth. Weeks got treatment for his addiction and, according to Saari, "he did really well for about five years" before leaving Two Harbors again.

"Then he was gone for about a year because he started drinking again," she said, adding that Weeks told her he had been involved in an altercation with police in which he was injured. Another center visitor said she had heard conflicting reports of Weeks' story and doubted the veracity of the claim. Nevertheless, Saari said that when Weeks returned to Two Harbors last spring, he seemed to want to make some changes in his life.

"He said he dang near died, so he wanted to try to clean things up and prove that he could be a good guy," Saari said. In the months before his arrest last Thursday, she said that he had been picking up trash along the shoreline and coming into the center, making items that could be sold to raise funds.

"He was working his butt off to make these dream catchers and the next thing I know, they're saying Ray got hauled off by police and deputies. He could be a character," she said, "but the Ray we know is different than they say."

"He saw himself as a protector of women and children," added Isbella Spencer.

Forensic testing performed on the knife found by police revealed a mixture of DNA from three or more individuals, police said. Weeks could not be excluded as a contributor of the DNA, but 85.9 percent of the general population could be excluded, according to the lab reports.

Testing also showed that the DNA on the knife could not belong to several other people connected with the case, including Tucker.

Weeks' next court appearance is slated for Dec. 4.