Victim identified, suspect denied bond in Houghton bar shooting

Investigators say 53-year-old Theron Duncan of Houghton was shot and killed in the bathroom at the Douglass House Saloon Monday evening.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 2:51 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:29 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The name of the man killed in Monday’s shooting in downtown Houghton was released Friday at the suspect’s arraignment.

Investigators say 53-year-old Theron Duncan of Houghton was shot and killed in the bathroom at the Douglass House Saloon Monday evening.

The man charged in the shooting, 59-year-old Evan Dixon, was denied bond during his arraignment Friday in 97th District Court. Dixon appeared over Zoom from inside the Houghton County Jail before Judge Nicholas J. Daavettila.

“This matter is scheduled for an arraignment on a felony complaint,” said Daavettila. “Which alleges that on or about November 13th, 2023, the city of Houghton, Houghton County, state of Michigan, that under count one, you did deliberately, with intent to kill, and with premeditation, kill and murder one Theron Duncan.”

There’s still no word on a motive. Dixon faces life in prison as he is charged with one count of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of possessing a firearm while committing a felony. Dixon broke into tears when the allegations were read in court.

Dixon is a licensed attorney in Houghton. He told the court he could not afford an attorney. The Tri-County Public Defenders is handling the defense.

David Gemignani, who was standing as Dixon’s attorney on the Zoom call, said that his office is looking to contract counsel outside of the office. This is due to Gemignani’s history as a friend and colleague of Dixon.

“Whoever represents Mr. Dixon needs to have professional independence,” said Gemignani. “I don’t see this as shirking my duties, I see this as doing my duty to make sure that he has someone with that professional independence to advise him.”

Judge Daavettila also agreed with this, stating that the court was in a similar situation, due to Dixon having had cases in his court.

“In light of all of that and that relationship,” continued Daavettila. “The court is finding is appropriate to disqualify itself from further involvement in the proceedings, and the State Court Administrative Office has been advised of the court’s position, and is, to the best of the court’s knowledge, seeking a substitute judge to take the matters forward from here.”

Michigan Attorney General Prosecutor Richard Cunningham, when asked by Judge Daavettila, requested that bond be denied due to the nature of the charges. The AG’s office has been handling serious felony cases in Houghton County as the county’s new prosecutor doesn’t begin to serve until next month.

A preliminary examination for Dixon is to be scheduled within the next 21 days. A small memorial of flowers and other items is currently set up outside the Douglass House in memory of Duncan.