UPDATE: Minnesota teen charged with killing Watertown woman makes court appearance

September 1, 2021

Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A Moorhead, Minnesota teenager charged with killing a Watertown woman in a traffic crash nearly two years ago made a court appearance this morning.

Eighteen year-old Gage Thatcher Stevenson appeared via video teleconference from the Codington County Detention Center, but did not speak.

He’s charged with First Degree Murder in the death of 43 year-old Dawn Meyer.

During today’s hearing, defense attorney Tom Sannes told Judge Carmen Means it was premature to issue any plea on behalf of his client. He told the court he’s been Stevenson’s legal counsel for only two-and-a-half weeks, but questions his competency to fully understand the charges against him.

Sannes also expressed concerns about how Stevenson’s incarceration might be deteriorating his mental health skills.

Sannes told the judge he needs more time to obtain additional medical records before deciding how to proceed.

Judge Means granted a two week continuance. Stevenson’s next court appearance will be a status hearing scheduled for September 15th at 9:00 a.m.

Watertown police say Stevenson intentionally swerved his fast-moving vehicle into the path of Meyer’s oncoming car on Highway 212 on the morning of September 17, 2019, killing her, and that his actions were a failed attempt to take his own life.

Police arrested Stevenson at his Moorhead home last month after a Codington County Grand Jury handed down a First Degree Murder indictment. 

Stevenson remains in jail on a one-million dollar cash bond or surety.