Trial set in Cass County murder case
Floyd Robert Desjarlais is charged with felony second-degree murder without intent while committing a felony and felony first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of Makhoa Martin in 2022.
WALKER — A trial date is set for Floyd Robert Desjarlais, the 35-year-old man charged with murder in the stabbing death of Makhoa Martin in 2022 in Pike Bay Township.
Desjarlais is charged with felony second-degree murder without intent while committing a felony and felony first-degree manslaughter.
Desjarlais appeared via Zoom from Crow Wing County Jail Monday, April 17, before Judge Christopher Strandlie in Cass County District Court. Desjarlais, along with his public defenders Jessen Alexander and Emmett Wells, requested a trial date be set. Cass County Attorney Benjamin Lindstrom requested a trial date around June.
Desjarlais told Strandlie he is requesting a speedy trial.
Desjarlais's trial is set for 9 a.m. May 31 in Cass County District Court. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 15.
Desjarlais is accused of stabbing Martin , 19, to death on May 14, 2022, apparently while the two argued and physically fought at a home in Pike Bay Township, north of Cass Lake.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a medical situation at the home on the 16000 block of Waboose Trail. Deputies arrived on the scene and learned Martin suffered a stab wound. Deputies initiated first aid and lifesaving efforts and the victim was transported via ambulance to Cass Lake Indian Health Services, where additional lifesaving efforts were performed. Martin was pronounced dead.
Through the investigation, the sheriff’s office identified Desjarlais as a suspect in the stabbing. According to the criminal complaint filed against Desjarlais, the owner of the home where the stabbing occurred told deputies the victim was his grandson, who’d been in a fight with Desjarlais. The homeowner said the two were drinking together and started arguing, which led Desjarlais to threaten everyone in the home. He told deputies his grandson did not want to fight but ended up beating up Desjarlais.
According to the complaint, Martin brought a mattress out to the living area for Desjarlais and walked outside. Desjarlais then followed Martin outside after grabbing a small bat used to keep the door shut on a wood stove. The homeowner broke up the fight between the two and said his grandson walked away while Desjarlais was on the ground. The victim’s grandfather went to a neighbor’s house to get help for Desjarlais and as he walked back, he saw Desjarlais get up and run away.
Investigators at the scene identified the area outside where the confrontation occurred, finding the bat, scuff marks, a pool of blood and a small lock blade knife. The homeowner said he did not see a knife and it was unclear at what point during the incident the stabbing occurred.
Deputies found Desjarlais inside a nearby home, with a trail of blood on the steps and door. After his arrest, he was transported to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. After claiming his injuries stemmed from falling while drunk, Desjarlais told investigators the next morning he was jumped, but would not say who jumped him.
An autopsy of Martin showed the cause of death was blood loss from a stab wound in his left chest. Stabbing injuries to the side of his head and on his hands were also present, along with bruises on several areas of his body and his liver.
The Cass County Attorney’s Office stated in the complaint it will seek an aggravated sentence in the matter given Desjarlais’ criminal history. The current offense is the third violent crime as Desjarlais has two previous convictions involving an injured victim: an October 2014 conviction for felony second-degree assault causing substantial bodily harm, and a March 2007 conviction for felony third-degree assault.
Other previous convictions for Desjarlais include felony domestic assault in 2014 and 2011, felony attempted violation of a domestic abuse no contact order in 2013 and felony escape in 2011.
TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email email@example.com .