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Jury convicts man for fatal West Duluth shooting two years ago

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ULUTH, Minn. - A jury in St. Louis County District Court has convicted a man in the fatal shooting at a party in 2009.

The jury found Stephen Cobenais guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Mario Highler. The 27-year-old Cobenais was also found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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The trial began almost two weeks ago. The jury began deliberating late Thursday afternoon and reached a verdict Friday morning shortly after resuming deliberations.

Prosecutor Leslie Beiers told jurors in closing arguments that the shooting was "a tragedy, not a tragic accident" which was "fueled by anger and alcohol." WDIO-TV reports defense attorney David Malban argued that Cobenais didn't mean to shoot Highler and pulled out a gun because he wanted him to leave the party.

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