Victim’s name released at suspect’s arraignment in downtown Houghton shooting

Shooting in Houghton

HOUGHTON, Mich.- The name of the man killed in a shooting in downtown Houghton was released at the suspect’s arraignment on Friday.

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

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

“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.”

Currently, no motive has been revealed. Dixon is facing life in prison having been charged with one count of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of possessing a firearm while committing a felony. Dixon reportedly wept when the allegations were read in court.

Dixon is a licensed attorney in Houghton. He advised the court that he was unable to afford an attorney. The Tri-County Public Defenders is correspondingly handling the defense.

David Gemignani, standing as Dixon’s attorney on the Zoom call, indicated that his office is looking to contract counsel outside of the office as a result of 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 concurred 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 managing serious felony cases in Houghton County as the county’s new prosecutor doesn’t begin to serve until next month.

The next 21 days will see the scheduling of a preliminary examination for Dixon. A small memorial of flowers and other items is currently set up outside the Douglass House in memory of Duncan.

— with files from


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