ST. PAUL — The Nobles County District Court acted within its discretion when it denied convicted murderer Chim LoVan’s request for post-conviction relief, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
The appellate court affirmed Fifth Judicial District Judge Terry Vajgrt’s decision to deny LoVan, 50, an evidentiary hearing and petition for post-conviction relief, stating that he is not entitled to relief because he failed to show an error in the district court’s determination. LoVan was convicted in 2016 of stabbing Blue Thyboualoy, who died during surgery.
LoVan had argued that the district court arbitrarily denied his petition for post-conviction relief.
Among arguments LoVan made with his appeal included: his right to a fair trial was violated because the district court denied his change of venue request and refused to provide an interpreter who accurately interpreted his language; and the criminal complaint was “constitutionally defective.” A jury found LoVan guilty of second- and third-degree murder; second-degree assault; and first-degree manslaughter.
Prior to making a request for post-conviction relief, LoVan had made a direct appeal and petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to review his case. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s conviction, and the Supreme Court denied further review.
LoVan’s direct appeal argued his “constitutional right to confrontation was violated when the district court allowed a police officer to testify that a homicide victim identified (LoVan) as the person who stabbed (Thyboualoy).
In its recent ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court said that LoVan’s claims he made to argue for post-conviction relief should have been raised at the time of his direct appeal. The Court said that LoVan was aware, or should have been aware, of the existence of the claims at the time of his direct appeal.
LoVan continues to serve his more than 16-year prison sentence at the Minnesota Department of Corrections facility in Faribault. He may be eligible for early release as soon as July 2026.