Babbitt man linked to murder of mother’s boyfriend
Marshall Helmberger
Shawn Doherty

BABBITT—A Babbitt man remains in custody after allegedly strangling his mother’s boyfriend in or near his mother’s residence at 37 Astor Road, on Monday.

Shawn Doherty, age 24, was booked on second-degree intentional homicide and remains in the St. Louis County jail in Virginia.

Law enforcement officials suspect Doherty in the death of 55 year-old John Bulen, of Mahtomedi. Sources tell the Timberjay that Bulen was the boyfriend of Doherty’s mother, Lynda Doherty, who owns the residence on Astor Road.

The case remains under investigation by the Babbitt Police Department and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, so details of their findings, so far, remain limited. The St. Louis County medical examiner, however, released his preliminary findings on Tuesday, following completion of an autopsy on Bulen. The examiner ruled the likely cause of death as “manual strangulation resulting in asphyxiation.”

A passerby had discovered Bulen, who was lying unconscious on a Babbitt street, before noon on Monday, and immediately contacted authorities. The Babbitt Ambulance Service transported Bulen to Ely Bloomenson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Babbitt Police Department remains the lead investigating authority, with assistance from the sheriff’s office.

The incident was not the first brush with tragedy for the Doherty family. Brian Doherty, Lynda’s husband and Shawn’s father, accidentally drowned in Birch Lake in 1995.

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