Second pre-trial set for Bigby

Brian Larsen

Lawyers in the upcoming trial for Kirk Lee Bigby, 62, of Finland met with Sixth District Judge Eric Hylden in the Cook County Courtroom on Friday, April 14 to go over the upcoming June court case in pre-trial proceedings. Due to the number of documents needed to be looked over by both sides and questions posed by the attorneys, the judge agreed to hold a second pre-trial hearing on Friday, May 26 at 10 a.m.

Bigby will stand trial for the December 9, 2015, killing of Marcus Lee Roberts outside of Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte. Bigby faces intentional and unintentional second-degree murder charges in the shooting of Roberts, 35, of Bloomington, who was employed by a gaming company that was providing entertainment for a holiday party for Bluefin employees on December 9, 2015.

Both charges carry a maximum of 40-year sentences, but unintentional murder charges carry lighter sentencing guidelines in convictions.

Bigby worked at Bluefin delivering firewood to rooms. He has maintained that he acted in self-defense although he did not give investigators an account of his actions that night. Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken maintains that Bigby shot Roberts “without warning and without provocation.” His act, said Hicken, took from his family, “a son, a brother, and a father of five children.”

According to transcripts of the incident, when Cook County Law Enforcement arrived on the scene that night they found Roberts lying on his back, not breathing and unresponsive with a red-colored stain on his clothing which appeared to originate from the left side of his chest under his arm. The first officer arriving learned that Roberts had been given CPR and the officer continued to give him CPR until EMTs arrived and Roberts was declared deceased. A spent .45-caliber shell was found next to the victim.

One witness told law enforcement that he had been outside having a smoke and he had seen “‘Kirk the firewood guy’ just pull out a gun and shoot the guy.” That witness identified the victim by first name as the blackjack dealer he had met earlier that night.

Officers learned that Bigby was staying in unit 12B of the resort that night. A photograph of Bigby attained from driver’s license records was found, and Lake County deputies on the scene described Bigby as a gun enthusiast who owned many different types of firearms and drove a black Ford Ranger. A black Ford Ranger registered to Kirk Lee Bigby was found in the vicinity of unit 12 and Bigby was discovered in unit 12B by law enforcement. On a bench near the entry way was a dark gray handgun with the hammer cocked back. The bullets inside the firearm matched the shell casing discovered near the victim. Blood was observed in several different areas within and outside of the unit. Bigby had an abrasion on his elbow but no other injuries were observed at the time, although his face was injured when he resisted arrest.

Bigby was arrested and booked into the Cook County Jail on the charge of 2nd-degree murder.

Two days later Bigby appeared before Judge Michael Cuzzo for arraignment in Cook County court on a charge of 2nd-degree murder.

Originally the trial of the crime was supposed to take place this past winter, but Bigby dismissed Brent Olson, his public defender and hired a high-profile defense attorney from the Twin Cities, Dave Risk of Halberg Criminal Defense. To give Risk time to learn about the case and prepare a defense for Bigby Judge Hylden rescheduled the (expected) two-week trial to begin June 5 in State District Court in Grand Marais.

Hicken is prosecuting the case with David Miller of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

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