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Published March 17, 2011, 06:33 PM

Trial for Man Accused of Shooting Deputy Chris Dewey Scheduled for August

A trial date has been set for the man accused of shooting Mahnomen County Deputy Christopher Dewey. A four-week trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 1.

By: Windy Reuer, Forum Communications

A trial date has been set for the man accused of shooting Mahnomen County (Minn.) Deputy Christopher Dewey.

A four-week trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 1.

Thomas Lee Fairbanks, 34, of Mahnomen, Minn., appeared before Polk County District Judge Jeffrey Remick on Thursday.

A causation motion was filed by Fairbanks’ defense attorney Thursday, which will be taken under advisement by the court.

A grand jury indicted Fairbanks in November, on charges of first-degree murder, six counts of first-degree assault, three counts of second-degree assault, felon in possession of a firearm, failure to render aid and attempted motor vehicle theft.

Eric Schieferdecker, a prosecutor from the state attorney general’s office is trying the case.

Fairbanks allegedly shot Dewey in the head and belly on Feb. 18, 2009, when Dewey responded to a report of drunken driving.

Dewey died nearly 18 months later.

Fairbanks’ trial was first moved to Beltrami County District Court in Bemidji then moved again in 2010 to Polk County. However, Fairbanks’ defense attorneys have said they would likely ask for another change of venue, saying Polk County was still too close to Mahnomen.

The Polk County courthouse is in Crookston, about 55 miles northwest of Mahnomen.

Fairbanks’ defense attorney, James Austad, could not be reached for comment.

Daniel Kurt Vernier was accused of being an accomplice in the shooting. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to failing to render assistance to Dewey and is serving a two-year prison term.

He’s expected to testify against Fairbanks at trial.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Fairbanks faces a life sentence without the chance of parole.

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